So far this year, there have been 104 traffic accidents reported in Marion County involving deer, including three in which someone was injured, according to information from the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Those numbers are likely to climb quickly over the next six weeks, as the deer mating season, the “rut,” peaks in November. During the rut, deer travel more and pay less attention to hazards, such as vehicles. Also during fall, dawn and dusk, when deer are most active, match up with times when there is the most traffic.
KDOT and the Kansas Insurance Department offer tips to avoid collisions with deer:
- Be especially watchful at dawn and dusk.
- If you see one deer, watch for more, as they seldom travel alone.
- Reduce speed and be alert near wooded areas, parks, golf courses, streams, and ponds.
- Heed deer-crossing signs.
- Use high-beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic and slow down when the reflective eyes of deer are spotted.
- Do not rely exclusively on deer whistles, deer fences, or reflectors to deter deer.
- Brake firmly if you notice a deer in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Swerving to avoid a deer can result in a more serious accident.
- If a deer stays on the road, stop on the shoulder and turn on hazard lights until it leaves. Do not try to go around a deer on the road.
- Always wear a seatbelt and use appropriate child safety seats.
“The reality of driving on Kansas roads and highways this time of years is the possible encounter with a deer,” insurance commissioner Sandy Praeger said.