By TROOPER TOD HILEMAN
KHP Troop D
It’s that time of year again Kansas, car/deer crash season!
Almost half of the car/deer crashes we work all year come within October, November & December so we need to be extra vigilant for the next few months.
The top number represents the total number of crashes for that county, the bottom number is how many of those crashes were injury crashes and if there is a number with an asterisk * beside it, that denotes car/deer fatality crash.
The other picture I added was to show just how high our fatalities are getting.
Remember, it’s generally considered safer to strike the animal than trying to swerve around it. The large majority of the serious car/deer crashes we work are when someone swerves to avoid the deer and looses control, or gets out of their vehicle after the crash and stands on or near the road.
Here are some tips to avoid a deer crash and what to do if you have one. Be safe!
1. Watch for the rest of the gang. Deer are pack animals, and rarely travel alone. If a deer crosses in front of you, chances are there are more nearby. Slow down and keep an eye out for more deer darting across the road.
2. Timing is everything. Deer are most active at dusk and dawn: periods when your vision is most compromised. To add to their terrible timing, deer are on the move during mating season (between October and January) when you’re more likely to travel after the sun sets. Slow down and stay alert, especially after dark.
3. Wear your seat belt. It may not prevent a collision, but if the inevitable happens a seat belt can reduce injuries. This is especially true if you lose control and collide with something bigger, and more stationary than a deer.
4. Stay the course. If you see a deer, brake firmly and calmly, and stay in your lane. Swerving could make you lose control of your vehicle and turn a bad situation much worse. Not to mention, deer are unpredictable, and you could swerve directly into their changed path.
5. Honk! Some experts recommend that one long blast of the horn will scare deer out of the road. Do not rely on hood whistles or other devices designed to scare off deer—studies have shown them to be largely ineffective at minimizing accidents.
If you strike a deer, turn on your hazard lights and pull your vehicle as far off the road as you can and call 911 or *47 to report the crash. Stay in your vehicle and don’t try to move the deer, it could still be alive and cause injury to you.