SPRINGFIELD — Here is a good place to rack up some information about deer on Missouri Highways.
If you haven’t noticed already, deer are in the season for being a problem for Missouri drivers.
It’s that time of year that deer are on the move.
It’s a common sight from late September through mid-November, deer are moving all over Missouri – even onto road ways. Francis Skalicky with the Department of explains why.
“This is the time that drivers need to be on the lookout for deer because it’s the peak of the deer mating season called the rut. It’s also a time when deer are feeding heavily so those two things combined mean there is a lot of deer movement,” Skalicky says.
Last year Missouri drivers saw 4,000 deer collisions, resulting in 400 injuries and 7 deaths. Sgt. Jason Pace with the Highway Patrol says these aren’t just happening in rural areas.
“About 25% of traffic crashes that we see where a car has struck that deer have occurred in urbanized areas as well,” Pace says.
Sgt. Pace says staying calm and not jerking the wheel can save your life.
“We’re encouraging motorists to stay straight in that travel path, and avoid swerving to miss that deer. Often times we see worse crashes when they try to do so,” says Pace.
Aaron Bruton at Hammers Autoworks says as more deer move onto the roads, more vehicles move into their shop.
“It’s not uncommon for us at this point of the year for us to see 1-5 a day, and as we get a little closer to the ‘rut’ as they call it – it’s not uncommon for us to see between 5-10 deer hits a day come in,” Bruton says.
The mechanics will take care of your car, but what about the animal on the road? Andy Mueller and the folks at MODOT have that covered.
“We appreciate learning about it as early as possible because as you can imagine, as time goes on, it gets to be a less and less enjoyable job. When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if it’s a road hazard or not, we’ll deal with it,” Mueller says.
Caution and attention can prevent many wrecks from occurring.
“We see them all the time, they’ve got their face down in their phone or device instead of watching ahead. Just like we are seeing more crashes, and more incidents in our work zones, I would expect that we’re going to see more animal hits as a result of distracted driving as well,” says Mueller.