Staying alert, using bright lights, and slowing down is key to avoiding accidents

PRATT -- In Kansas, the number of deer-vehicle accidents increases in fall, with most accidents occurring in mid-November. This is the time when motorists should be their most alert, especially at dusk, dawn, and throughout the night because deer are at the peak of their mating season, called "rut."

According to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP), a person is 20 times more likely to have an accident with a deer at night than they are during the day. The most accidents occur approximately 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset, times when many Kansans are driving to and from work at this time of year. Sunrise and sunset are not only our rush hour travel times in November, they are also when human vision is the poorest.

Speed is another important factor in deer-related accidents. After a nationwide law set speed limits at 55 mph in 1974, deer-related vehicle accidents dropped by nearly half. Conversely, deer-related accidents increased dramatically after the speed limit was increased in 1996, and the severity of those accidents increased, as well.

To reduce deer numbers and deer-related vehicle accidents, KDWP has increased the number of permits, lengthened the hunting seasons, and allowed hunters to take multiple deer each year. However, access to private land is key for hunters to reduce deer populations, and KDWP continues to work with landowners through efforts such as the Walk-In Hunting Area program, which leases private land for hunter access.

The best advice to avoid a deer-vehicle accidents is to be alert and slow down. Not only will the chances of hitting a deer lower, gas mileage will improve.