State experts offer tips to prevent deer-vehicle collisions – Osage County Online


PRATT, Kan. – As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, the deer breeding season will begin. Crossing pastures, roads, rivers and streams – whitetail and mule deer will begin a nearly month-long quest to find suitable mates, stopping for very few, including motorists.

Commonly referred to as the rut, this time of year marks the distinct time when collisions between deer and vehicles are most common, and the Sunflower State is no exception. This is why the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Kansas Department of Transportation, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, and the AAA Kansas offer helpful tips that can help drivers navigate the roads in Kansas safely and potentially avoid traffic jams. collisions with deer.

“If you are unlucky enough to see a deer entering the freeway in front of your car, it is best to hit the animal and not swerve to avoid it,” said Lt. KHP Candice Breshears. “Often times, we find that more serious accidents occur when you swerve to miss the deer, potentially losing control of your vehicle, pull off the road or veer into oncoming traffic.”

Although the vast majority of deer-vehicle collisions do not result in serious injury, data collected by the KDOT indicates that between 2011 and 2019, 51 people were killed in collisions in Kansas involving deer.

“In addition to causing human injury and loss of life, collisions with deer often cause significant damage to vehicles which can result in significant expenses for the vehicle owner if not properly insured,” said Shawn. Steward, director of public and government affairs for AAA Kansas. “Of the animal strikes reported by AAA policyholders in 2020, the average cost per claim was nearly $ 5,500, an increase of over $ 1,000 per claim from 2019.”

Steward attributes the higher repair costs to advanced driver assistance technology and expensive sensors and the calibration requirements of newer vehicles.

To avoid incurring costly vehicle repairs, or worse, state experts offer these helpful tips:

  • Be especially vigilant at dawn and dusk when deer are most active.
  • If you see a deer, expect to see more, as deer rarely travel alone.
  • Drive at low speeds and take extra care near wooded areas or green spaces, such as parks and golf courses, and near water sources such as streams and ponds.
  • Deer crossing signs indicate areas where a large number of vehicle accidents with deer have occurred in the past; heed these warnings.
  • Use bright lights when there is no oncoming traffic and scan the road in front of the reflective eyes of the deer.
  • Don’t stray to avoid hitting a deer – the most serious accidents sometimes happen when motorists veer and collide with another vehicle or get off the road and hit an obstacle.
  • Always wear a seat belt and use properly adjusted child safety seats, as these are the best defenses in a crash.
  • Horn the vehicle with a long bang, as this can scare large animals, such as deer, away from the roadway.
  • Finally, in the event of a collision, move the vehicle to the shoulder of the road, if possible, and call law enforcement – KHP dispatcher at * 47, the Kansas Turnpike at * KTA and local law enforcement. to 911.

Anyone involved in a cervid vehicle accident resulting in bodily injury or property damage totaling $ 1,000 or more is required to immediately report the incident to the nearest law enforcement agency. Failure to report any vehicle accident is a criminal offense and may result in suspension of driving privileges.

To remove a deer carcass, or any part of a deer, from an accident site, a salvage tag must first be obtained. Salvage tags can be issued by KHP soldiers, sheriff’s deputies, or KDWP game wardens.

This fall, motorists can make sure the holiday traffic they encounter remains as safe as possible, for humans and deer, by staying alert and simply slowing down.

Information thanks to KDWP.

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