Motorists urged to watch for deer

10/16/2013

TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas officials are warning motorists to watch out for deer darting across roadways as breeding season approaches.

TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas officials are warning motorists to watch out for deer darting across roadways as breeding season approaches.

The Kansas Highway Patrol said in a news release that breeding season peaks in mid-November. The increase in crashes during breeding season is partially the result of deer being more active and paying less attention to hazards such as vehicles. Fall also is the time when many deer move to new locations as crops are harvested, said Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism biologist Lloyd Fox.

In 2012, nearly 8,700 traffic crashes involved deer, said Kansas Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Swartz. The crashes left two people dead and 322 were injured.

Experts said motorists should be particularly cautious at dawn and dusk when deer are more likely to be on the move and traffic is the heaviest. Heed deer crossing signs and reduce speed near wooded areas, green spaces such as parks and near water sources, the release said.

When one of the animals is seen, slow down, use bright lights and don't swerve to avoid hitting a deer. Experts also urge motorists to remember that the animals seldom travel alone so spotting one deer means more are likely nearby.

Deer crashes occur across the state but are the most prevalent in counties with high traffic volume. Johnson County recorded the most crashes with 304, followed by Sedgwick County with 293, and Reno County with 237, the release said.

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