The Missouri State Highway Patrol is reminding all drivers that deer are more active and create hazards for Missouri motorists this time of year.

The Patrol says that drivers attempting to avoid striking a deer could result in a more serious crash involving oncoming traffic.

MSHP recommends trying to remain calm, as panicking and overreacting usually lead to more serious traffic crashes. Last year, drivers in Missouri experienced 4,070 traffic crashes where deer-vehicle strikes occurred. According to the Patrol, one deer strike occurred every 2.2 hours in the state. In these crashes, there were seven fatalities and 400 people were injured in 2017.

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, MSHP says most occur between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.

Motorists are reminded that rural areas are not the only place where deer/vehicle strikes occur. When you see a deer, slow down and proceed with caution. Deer often travel in groups--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 aren’t usually seen. Drivers are urged to remain alert.

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