State officials are warning drivers in Missouri to beware of deer crossing roadways.
They are more active in the fall, which is their mating season. Fall harvests and hunting also contribute to deer being more mobile this time of year.
Data collected by the insurance company State Farm for its 2010-2011 survey period ranks Missouri 19th in the nation for most deer strikes – down from 17th the prior year. Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Tim Hull says the metro areas of St. Louis and Kansas City have the most deer strikes.
“You’ve got a mixture of metropolitan area(s) with wooded, rural area(s) as well," Hull said. "When you’ve got all those different types of major highways crossing over where those wooded areas are at, you’re going to see deer strikes.”
Last year, there were 3,420 auto-deer strikes in Missouri, resulting in two deaths and 352 people injured. Hull says drivers are more likely to crash into other vehicles if they panic and overreact to seeing a deer in the road.
“We see a lot of people injured and killed trying to avoid a deer by running off the right side of the roadway and hitting a tree or a fence or (their) vehicle overturning over an embankment," Hull said, "or (they) veer to the left into the path of another vehicle.”
Hull says if you are driving and see a deer in or near your path, slow down and keep going straight.