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Deer are beautiful and majestic creatures, and it's that time of year we get a chance to see more of them.

But when we're driving vehicles, social distancing is essential. Deer-vehicle collisions have caused around 1 million deer-related crashes each year, resulting in close to $1 billion in property damage.

They also lead to about 200 human deaths each year.

Last year, drivers in Missouri experienced 4,320 traffic crashes where deer-vehicle strikes occurred, according to the Missouri Highway patrol. One deer strike occurred every two hours in the state. In these crashes, there were nine fatalities, and 449 people were injured.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is reminding motorists to be prepared for the sudden appearance of wild animals such as deer — as well as other animals such as coyote — on Missouri roadways during the fall.

During October and November, deer are more active as they mate and migrate, especially at dawn and dusk.

We urge drivers to be especially attentive during this season. Also, never swerve to avoid animals in the road as it can cause loss of control of your vehicle. To avoid hitting a deer, always be cautious and keep your eyes scanning both sides of the roadway.

Unfortunately, deer aren't always good about heeding deer-crossing signs. So drivers must be extra attentive.

Many Jefferson City residents had vehicles that sustained hail damage earlier this year, some waiting months for repairs from booked-up body shops.

Let's make sure that this fall we protect not only our property but our safety. Deer mating season is one of many examples of when defensive driving could save your life.

News Tribune

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