KANSAS CITY, Kan. — It’s that time of year again when the temperature cools down, the leaves start changing colors and one of “Bambi’s” relative’s decides to run out in front of your vehicle!
Crashes involving deer greatly increase from now until the end of the year because of breeding season, with November typically the peak time, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation.
KDOT, along with the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, AAA Kansas and the Kansas Turnpike Authority are working to raise awareness and help decrease vehicle crashes involving deer.
Across Kansas, 37% of all single-vehicle crashes in 2022 involved a collision with a deer. KDOT reports six people were killed and 575 people were injured in crashes with deer last year.
KHP Captain Candice Breshears says if a deer enters the roadway in front of your car, it’s best to hit the animal and not swerve to avoid it.
“We find more serious crashes occur when you swerve to miss the deer, potentially losing control of your vehicle, leaving the road or veering into oncoming traffic,” Breshears said.
Shawn Steward with AAA Kansas said deer can be unpredictable, so even the best drivers are at risk.
“In addition to the inconvenience of your vehicle damage, the cost of repairs may put a serious dent in your wallet,” Steward said. “AAA insurance statistics indicate that the average claim in Kansas for an animal strike in 2022 was almost $7,000 – up more than 60% in just five years.”
Anyone involved in a collision with a deer or other animal resulting in personal injury or property damage totaling $1,000 or more is required to immediately report the incident to the nearest law enforcement agency.
Roadway safety officials suggest drivers:
- Be especially watchful at dawn and dusk when deer are more active.
- If you see one deer, expect others, as deer seldom travel alone.
- Be alert and reduce speeds near wooded areas or green spaces and near water sources
such as streams and ponds.
- Deer crossing signs show areas where high numbers of vehicle-deer collisions have
occurred in the past; but they can happen on any roadway, including city streets.
- Do not swerve to avoid hitting a deer. Motorists could then veer into oncoming
traffic, run off the road, hit objects or overturn.
- Use bright headlights when there is no oncoming traffic and scan for the reflective
eyes of deer.
- If a collision occurs, move the vehicle to the roadway’s shoulder. Then, if possible,
call law enforcement – KHP dispatch at *47, the Kansas Turnpike at *KTA or local
law enforcement at 911.
- Put the vehicle’s hazard lights on, whether it is light or dark outside.
- Remain in the vehicle with your seat belt fastened to be better protected.
- Contact your insurance company to report any vehicle damage.