Avoiding Collisions with Deer
Deer activity on and near Kansas' roadways poses a seasonal traffic hazard. Because deer-breeding season runs from October and into December, law enforcement officers routinely investigate a large number of vehicle-deer crashes this time of year. The Kansas Highway Patrol advises all motorists to be aware of this potential danger and to use extra caution. The following defensive driving techniques could ensure your safety this fall and winter:
- Stay alert, pay more attention to the road and roadside, and intentionally look for deer. Be especially alert at dawn and dusk, the peak movement times for deer and when visibility is low.
- Slow down at deer-crossing signs, which are posted where deer-vehicle collisions have repeatedly occurred, and near woods, parks, golf courses, and streams or creeks. At a reduced speed, you have a better chance of avoiding a deer.
- Deer usually travel in groups. When one deer crosses the road, there may be others about to cross. Slow down and watch for others to dart into the road.
- Slow down when approaching deer standing near roadsides. They have a tendency to bolt, possibly onto the roadway. Use emergency flashers to warn oncoming drivers after you see deer near a roadway.
- Always wear your seat belt. Statistics show that most people injured or killed in deer-related collisions were not wearing seat belts.
- The most serious crashes occur when drivers lose control of their vehicles trying to avoid an animal. Do not take unsafe evasive actions. It is usually safer to strike the deer than another object such as a tree or another vehicle.
- Motorcyclists need to be especially careful; fatality rates are higher in deer-motorcycle accidents than in deer-car crashes.
- If you hit a deer, pull over onto the shoulder, turn on your emergency flashers, and watch for traffic before exiting your vehicle. Do not try to remove a deer from the roadway unless you are sure it is dead; an injured deer could hurt you. If you have a cellular phone, dial *47 (*HP) for the nearest Highway Patrol dispatcher or *KTA for assistance on the Kansas Turnpike.
- Anyone involved in a vehicle-deer crash that results in personal injury or property damage that totals $1,000 or more is required to immediately report the crash to the nearest law enforcement agency. Failure to report any traffic crash is a misdemeanor and may result in suspension of driving privileges.