During the months when the majority of deer strikes occur each year, Missourians are reminded to be aware of deer on the highways.

Col. J. Bret Johnson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, said last year drivers in Missouri experienced 3,732 traffic crashes where deer-vehicle strikes occurred. One deer strike occurred every 2.4 hours in the state. In these crashes, there were three fatalities and 346 people were injured. The majority of deer strike crashes occur in October and November each year, with the largest number taking place in November. Most deer strikes occur between the hours of 5 p.m. and 6:59 a.m.

The patrol reminds drivers that an attempt to avoid striking a deer could result in a more serious crash involving oncoming traffic. Here are some tips:

• Try to remain calm. Panicking and overreacting usually lead to more serious traffic crashes.

• Natural features affect deer movement. In areas where there are streams or wooded corridors surrounded by farmland, look for more deer to cross roadways.

• Rural areas are not the only place where deer/vehicle strikes occur. When you see one, slow down and proceed with caution.

• Deer often travel in groups — stay on guard after a close call or when you see a single deer.

• Deer behavior changes due to mating season, which may cause an increase in sightings and roadway crossings. Hunting and crop harvesting may result in these animals being in places they aren’t usually seen. Drivers are urged to remain alert. The only 100 percent survivable traffic crash is the one that never happens. Johnson said to make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint.

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