Lieutenant Colonel Eric T. Olson, acting superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, reminded drivers this week that deer are more active and create hazards for Missouri motorists this time of year.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol reminds drivers that an attempt to avoid striking a deer could result in a more serious crash involving oncoming traffic. In the event of seeing a deer in the road, try to remain calm. Panicking and overreacting usually lead to more serious traffic crashes.
Last year, drivers in Missouri experienced 4,070 traffic crashes where deer-vehicle strikes occurred. One deer strike occurred every 2.2 hours in the state. In these crashes, there were seven fatalities and 400 people were injured. The majority of deer strike crashes occur in October and November each year, with the largest number taking place in November. Although deer strikes can occur at any time, most occur between the hours of 5 p.m. and 6:59 a.m.
Remember, rural areas are not the only place where deer/vehicle strikes occur. When you see a deer, slow down and proceed with caution. Deer often travel in groups -- stay on guard after a close call or when you see a single deer. Natural features also affect deer movement. In areas where there are streams or wooded corridors surrounded by farmland, look for more deer to cross roadways.
Deer behavior changes due to mating season, which may cause an increase in sightings and roadway crossings. Hunting and crop harvesting may result in these animals being in places they aren’t usually seen. Drivers are urged to remain alert.
The only 100 percent survivable traffic crash is the one that never happens. Make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint. Every day as we travel on Missouri’s roadways, we trust that every driver on the road is going to obey the speed limit, pay attention, and drive sober.