The Kansas Highway Patrol is advising all motorists to be cautious of deer activity on and around roadways this fall. Because the deer breeding season generally runs from October to December, law enforcementofficers routinely investigate a large number of deer-vehicle crashes this time of year.
Last year, six people were killed in crashes involving deer, and 318 were injured. According to Kansas Department of Transportation statistics, 9,371 deer-vehicle crashes occurred on Kansas roadways in 2008. Deer represent a significant problem for those traveling on motorcycles. In 2008, four of the six fatalities involving deer were motorcycle riders.
“This time of year in our state, you must be prepared for deer crossing the roadway, especially in the night and early morning hours. Control your speed so you can react, should a deer enter the roadway,” said Patrol Superintendent, Colonel Terry Maple. “If an animal is in your path, it is often better to brake and slow down, possibly striking the animal, than it is to swerve. If you swerve, you run the risk of losing control of your vehicle, and possibly driving off the roadway, which could contribute to the vehicle overturning, and causing a more catastrophic crash.”
The Patrol offers the following tips to avoid and mitigate vehicle-deer crashes:
- Intentionally look for deer. Be especially alert at dawn and dusk, which is when visibility is low and is peak movement time for deer.
- Slow down near woods, parks, golf courses, streams, and deer crossing signs, which are posted where deer-vehicle collisions have repeatedly occurred.
- Deer usually travel in groups. When one deer crosses the road, there may be others about to cross. Be prepared to stop for others darting 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.
- 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 certain it is dead; an injured deer could hurt you. If you have a cellular phone and are on a Kansas highway, dial *47 (*HP) for a highway patrol dispatcher or *KTA (582) for assistance on the Kansas Turnpike.
- Anyone involved in a vehicle-deer crash that results in personal injury or property damage that totals $1,000.00 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.
- If you are involved in a non-injury crash on an interstate, U.S. highway, or any divided or multi-lane road in the state of Kansas, and if you are not transporting hazardous materials, it is required by law to move your vehicle out of the lane of traffic. This law is intended to help keep drivers and passengers safe by getting them out of the lane of traffic, and away from oncoming vehicles.
- Make sure you and your passengers are buckled up and are using the appropriate child safety seats, which are the best ways to prevent injuries or death should you be involved in a crash.