Archive for Thursday, November 29, 2007

Caution urged to avoid accidents with deer

November 29, 2007

Deer-rutting season is drawing closer to an end, but motorists still need to take extra precautions to avoid a collision with these four-legged creatures.

If you drive defensively and are always aware of your surroundings when near deer habitats, you can make it out of the animal's active season without a scratch, said Lt. Andy Dedeke of the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office.

"I think compared to other years it is not any better or any worse," Dedeke said. "It seems to have taken longer to get started, but right now we're in full swing."

As of Oct.1 through Nov. 20, the Sheriff's Office has received 174 reports of deer-related traffic accidents. Dedeke said about 40 of those accidents happened this month alone.

Last year, the Kansas Department of Transportation reported there were 9,197 deer related accidents in the state, with 242 from Leavenworth County. In those statewide accidents, 291 people were injured and three died.

To avoid a deer accident, Dedeke suggested to always look around the sides of the road for the animal, especially at dusk or dawn, times when deer are the most active.

He also suggested increasing the following distance between vehicles and to drive at or below the posted speed limit.

Dedeke said there wasn't any one place or any one road that had more deer-related accidents than another.

"It's pretty well spread out," Dedeke said. "Naturally we have more occurring near fields and streams, but people definitely need to watch out anywhere in the county."

If a deer does run across the road, Dedeke warns that they travel in groups so drivers need to be on the lookout for more deer to follow.

If hitting a deer is unavoidable, go ahead and strike it instead of swerving out of the way, he said.

"When you swerve, there is the possibility of striking a vehicle in the oncoming lane or losing control of your vehicle," he said. "It doesn't take much to overturn a vehicle on a county road. Striking the animal does a lot less damage."

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