SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– You’re driving to work, you haven’t had much coffee yet, and suddenly something much more awake than you jumps out in front of your car. It freezes but you’re still moving in its direction. What do you do?
The split-second in which you’re forced to make a decision is a crucial one. It’s one the Missouri State Highway Patrol is advising you to consider now, rather than later, when you might not have much time.
In 2018, there were 4,090 deer-vehicle related crashes in Missouri. According to Highway Patrol, there was a deer hit by a Missouri driver every 2.1 hours.
Six people were killed in these types of crashes. 415 people were hurt.
“The majority of deer strike crashes occur in October and November each year, with the largest number taking place in November,” a release from Highway Patrol says.
According to that same release, deer are most often hit between 5-7 a.m., and then again between about 6-9 p.m.
So what do you do if you find yourself cruising toward a deer on your morning or evening commute?
Highway Patrol advises the following:
- When you see a deer, slow down and drive carefully.
- Remember that deer typically travel in groups. When you see one, be prepared to stop for others.
- Keep an eye out for deer on all roadways, not just rural areas.
- Be especially alert when driving through areas that have features naturally appealing deer (streams and wooded corridors surrounded by farmland)
- Look for reflective deer eyes when driving at night. Seeing these ahead of time could give you more time to react and might be your best warning of an oncoming deer when it’s dark out.
Finally, Highway Patrol says, if you run over a deer, call 911 or dial *55 on a cell phone to report it.