Oh, deer! Patrol warns of driving hazards

Throughout the fall, the Missouri Highway Patrol urges drivers to keep an eye out for deer, especially in November, which is heaviest month for deer-vehicle crashes.

Between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m., motorists are encouraged to remain calm but alert when commuting.

Col. Ron Replogle, patrol superintendent, said mating season causes deer to cross roads frequently and be in places they usually avoid.

Rural areas are not the only places for deer-vehicle crashes. Urban areas, major roads and highways also see annual increases in deer activity. In 2010, nearly 30 percent of traffic accidents involving deer occurred in urban areas.

There were 3,420 deer-vehicle crashes last year.

If a deer is hit, motorists are encouraged to dial 911.

If the deer is still active and the vehicle is mobile, officials said drivers should pull to the side of the road and turn on hazard lights. Drivers are urged to fill out an accident report for insurance purposes.

If a crash is unavoidable, the patrol said it is safer to hit the deer instead of trying to avoid the collision and swerving into oncoming traffic or off the road.

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