‘Don’t veer for deer:’ MDOT reminds drivers to be alert as deer season comes to a close

MDOT is reminding drivers to take the necessary precautions to avoid collisions with deer.
MDOT is reminding drivers to take the necessary precautions to avoid collisions with deer.(WSAW)
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 2:31 PM CST
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Spring is just around the corner, but deer continue to be active and visible on Mississippi roadways. MDOT is reminding drivers to take the necessary precautions to avoid collisions with deer.

“There are approximately 3,800 reported deer crashed in Mississippi every year,” said Brad White, MDOT Executive Director. “Deer collisions can sometimes be life threatening and make for costly repairs on a vehicle.”

In 2021, there were 3,861 reported deer-related crashes in Mississippi. This year, there have already been 1,984. The damages from a wreck with a deer are covered under the comprehensive portion of automobile policies.

“Deer collisions can cause thousands of dollars in damage,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. “If you hit a deer, contact your agent as quickly as possible to report any damage to your car.”

Motorists should be alert for large animals near the road and have a plan of action. Keeping calm and driving smart improve drivers’ chances of avoiding collisions and staying safe on the road.

“Deer are unpredictable animals, especially when startled,” said White. “Drivers should remain alert, especially in morning and dusk hours when deer tend to be more active. Motorists should also avoid distractions and always wear a seatbelt.”

Though deer season peaks from October to January, remember that deer can run on or near roads at any time of the year. Practice safe driving at all times and keep these precautions in mind to help get through this time of year accident-free:

  • DON’T VEER FOR DEER - If a deer runs in front of a moving car, remain calm and brake firmly. Swerving can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles, causing an even more serious accident.
  • DEER ARE HERD ANIMALS - If you see one, there are likely more. Take extra caution for deer lingering around the same area.
  • REMAIN VIGILANT WHEN DRIVING AT DAWN OR DUSK - About 20% of deer-related crashes occur in the early morning while more than half occur between 5 p.m. and midnight.
  • BUCKLE UP - Always buckle up for safety and drive at a safe speed.
  • USE HIGH BEAMS - At night, use high beams, when no traffic is approaching, to illuminate the eyes of deer near the road. Make sure both headlights and high beams are clean and aimed correctly.

“All drivers should take extra care during deer season,” said White. “Always be alert and ready to respond to a deer jumping into the road in front of you.”

MDOT urges drivers to avoid distracted driving and buckle up for safety when traveling Mississippi highways and roadways during deer season.

For more travel safety tips, visit GoMDOT.com/drivesmartms or follow @MississippiDOT on Twitter.

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