Drive carefully, deer more active this time of year

You may have noticed deer are more active this time of year. Cooler temps, hunting and harvest season, as well as mating season may cause an increase in sightings and roadway crossings.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol urges drivers to be extra cautious and remain alert, especially during evening and early dawn hours.

The majority of deer strikes occur from October through December. Most deer strikes happen between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. If you do encounter a deer in the roadway, remain calm and do not try to swerve to avoid it.

â??Many times we see significant or serious crashes where motorists actually tried to swerve to avoid a deer,â?? said Sgt. Brent Bernhardt with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. â??We recommend people to be extra vigilant, slow down, and observe what's in the ditches. If there is a deer in the area, understand that there's quite possibly more in that same general area because they do run in herds.â??

Last year, drivers in the state of Missouri experienced 3,980 traffic crashes where deer-vehicle strikes occurred.

â??We investigated one deer strike every 2.2 hours in the state,â?? Sgt. Bernhardt said.

Five people were killed and 411 were injured.

If you are involved in a vehicle-deer collision you are urged to park your vehicle on the side of the road, if possible. You are also urged to call *55, Missouri State Highway Patrol or your nearest law enforcement agency.