As cooler weather begins spreading across the state, deer become more active and more visible on Mississippi highways and roadways. The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) warns motorists to take precautions to avoid collisions with deer.
“Mississippi averages over 3,000 deer-related crashes per year,” said Commissioner Dick Hall, Central Transportation District and chair, Mississippi Transportation Commission. “Hitting a deer can be a very costly expense and sometimes it can be a life-threatening accident.”
Motorists should be aware of 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, especially when frightened,” said Commissioner Tom King, Southern Transportation District. “Drivers always need to stay alert, slow down and wear their seat belt.”
Though deer season peaks from October through January, remember that a deer could run on or near roadways 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 pack animals. Take extra caution for deer lingering around the same area.
- Remain vigilant when driving at dawn and dusk. About 20 percent of crashes occur in early morning, while more than half occur between 5 p.m. and midnight.
- Always buckle up for safety and drive at a safe speed.
- 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 cleaned and aimed correctly.
“No matter if a driver is traveling rural roads or busy highways, the threat of hitting a deer while driving is very real,” said Commissioner Mike Tagert, Northern Transportation District. “All motorists should take extra precautions during deer season to ensure their safety while traveling.”
MDOT urges motorists to avoid distracted driving and buckle up for safety when traveling Mississippi’s highways and roadways during deer season.
For additional travel safety tips, visit GoMDOT.com/drivesmartms or follow @MississippiDOT on Twitter.