Warning to motorists: beware ‘Deer D-Day’
Kansas Department of Transportation wants drivers to be on high alert on Nov. 18, which it calls "Deer D-Day." That's because it's the day deer-automobile crashes peak in the state. In the past decade, an average of 700 deer-and-vehicle collisions occurred on that date.
The state's large deer population becomes active during November and December, which is the rutting season. Also, deer tend to enlarge their feeding range as they build up their fat reserves for the winter.
KDOT recorded a total of 8,819 deer-related crashes in 2005, which was almost 13 percent of all recorded collisions. Johnson County had the highest number of deer-related crashes, with 358.
The department encourages motorists to observe the following tips to avoid deer collisions:
- Be especially watchful at dawn and dusk, when deer are particularly active.
- Slow down to avoid a collision with a deer, but do not swerve. The most serious crashes occur when motorists take evasive action, which can lead to a loss of vehicle control.
- Be especially alert at locations with deer crossing signs, which indicate areas where heavily used deer trails cross roadways.
- When driving at night and there is no oncoming traffic, use high-beam headlights, which are more likely to reveal a deer's eyes.
- Because deer seldom travel alone, if you see one crossing the road you should slow down and watch for other deer following.