The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.

 

Published October 31, 2018

Warning: deer are more active this time of year
LAKE OF THE OZARKS Ė On Sunday October 21, Amber Guevara was driving a 2010 Pontiac G6 southbound on Route C, north of Hawken Cemetery Road. It was around 6:45 p.m., the perfect time to encounter a deer and that is exactly what happened.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) said she struck the deer but only received minor injuries to herself and her vehicle. She was wearing a seat belt.

This is a warning that deer are more active and create hazards for Missouri motorists this time of year.

October and November are peak months for deer to be on the move, and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is reminding drivers to be prepared and not drive distracted.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car and deer crashes in the United States cause almost 200 deaths and $1.1 billion in damages each year.

In 2017, there were 4,111 crashes involving deer in Missouri, resulting in 389 injuries and seven fatalities. Five of the fatalities took place in October and November and 34 percent of the injuries took place during the same months.

But the MSHP reminds drivers that an attempt to avoid striking a deer could result in a more serious crash involving oncoming traffic.

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

Deer are most active at dusk and dawn, and do unpredictable things, such as stopping in the middle of the road when crossing. A deer that is calmly standing on the side of the road may suddenly leap into traffic.

The majority of deer strike crashes occur in October and November each year, with the largest number taking place in November.

Although deer strikes can occur at any time, most occur between the hours of 5 p.m. and 6:59 a.m.

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

If you see one deer cross the road donít think thatís it and accelerate, deer often travel in groups so stay on guard after a close call or when you see a single deer.

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

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 arenít usually seen. Drivers are urged to remain alert.

MoDOT offers tips to help avoid deer strikes and to remain safe in case there is one:

ē Always wear your seat belt. Itís easy: Buckle Up Phone Down.
ē Control your speed, stay alert and avoid distracted driving.
ē Donít swerve to avoid hitting a deer. Swerving can cause motorists to lose control and travel off the road or into oncoming traffic.
ē Deer rarely travel alone. Slow down and keep an eye out for more deer. If a deer crosses the road in front of you, there is a good chance another deer will be following it.
ē Donít follow too closely. Remember: the driver in front of you might have to stop suddenly to avoid hitting a deer.

MoDOT maintenance crews remove dead deer that pose a safety hazard, meaning that they are in the driving or passing lane, or partially in either lane or on the shoulder.

Motorists can call 1-888-ASK-MODOT to report the location of a dead deer on the highway.

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