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It's deer season on the road, too

Staff writer

Oh, deer.

With deer-mating season, also known as “rut,” peaking in mid-November, motorists should be “especially vigilant” in the upcoming weeks, according to a Kansas Highway Patrol release.

Motorists in Marion County bashed into deer 98 times in 2013. While health risk is relatively low in deer collisions — the state of Kansas had just six fatalities in 8,104 crashes in 2013, and just two Marion County collisions resulted even in injury — the property damage to vehicles is often severe.

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism biologist Lloyd Fox said during rut, deer travel more and pay less attention to hazards like vehicles. Deer are known to travel in groups, so the sight of one deer crossing the road often foreshadows the approach of several others.

KDOT spokesman Steve Swartz said 14 percent of all traffic crashes in Kansas in 2013 involved deer.

Anyone involved in a vehicle-deer crash resulting in personal injury or property damage that totals or exceeds $1,000 is required to report the crash immediately to law enforcement.

KHP had the following tips for drivers to help avoid deer collisions:

  • Be watchful at dawn and dusk; deer are particularly active then.
  • Deer seldom travel alone.
  • Reduce speed near wooded areas or parks and near water sources.
  • Deer crossing signs indicate where high levels of deer-vehicle crashes have occurred in the past.
  • Use brights to help detect deer as far ahead as possible.
  • Don’t swerve to avoid hitting a deer, as that increases likelihood of colliding with another car or an off-road obstacle, which is a more serious collision.

Last modified Oct. 15, 2014

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