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TOPEKA, Kan. — You may be starting to see more deer on the roads as we get deeper into the fall. The closer we get to peak mating times, the more crashes are expected.

“There’s just a lot of movement that you don’t typically see other times of the year. So you have to be prepared,” said Gary Herman, assistant manager of behavioral traffic safety for the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The number of deer crashes in Kansas dropped in 2020 to more than 9,600. That’s after steadily increasing for the last six years with a high of more than 11,100 two years ago.

Kansas deer crashes

The decrease is likely due to fewer people being on the roads during the coronavirus pandemic. With things getting back to normal it won’t be surprising to see an increase in crashes. So law enforcement is trying to prepare drivers.

“You want to make sure you stay calm and don’t try to overreact or overcorrect your vehicle because doing that could cause a more serious crash if you were to go off into the ditch or come into oncoming lanes,” said Kansas Highway Patrol Lieutenant Candice Breshears.

During the pandemic, KHP said drivers have been speeding more, and that worries transportation officials entering deer season.

“The faster you go, the more impact that could have on the severity of your crash, so make sure you’re following those speed limits,” Breshears said.

Officials also recommend the use of your brights when no other cars are around and to keep your eyes on the road.

Though a small portion of deer crashes result in injuries or even deaths, they said there’s an easy way to protect yourself.

“If you look at the statistics, about half of those fatalities come from being unbuckled and so we stress buckle up. We stress that all the time, but certainly during deer rut,” Herman said.

The highest number of crashes in Kansas in 2020 happened in Butler County, followed by Johnson, Shawnee, and Sedgwick, the three counties with the largest populations.