October and November are peak months for deer to be on the move, and the Missouri Department of Transportation reminds drivers to be prepared and not drive distracted.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car and deer crashes in the United States cause almost 200 deaths and $1.1 billion in damage each year.

In 2017, there were 4,111 crashes involving deer in Missouri, resulting in 389 injuries and seven fatalities. Five of the fatalities took place in October and November, and 34 percent of the injuries took place during the same months.

Deer are most active at dusk and dawn and do unpredictable things, such as stopping in the middle of the road when crossing. A deer that is calmly standing on the side of the road might suddenly leap into traffic.

MoDOT offers the following safety tips for avoiding collisions with deer:

• Always wear a seat belt. It’s easy: “Buckle Up Phone Down.”

• Control the car’s speed, stay alert and avoid distracted driving.

• Don’t swerve to avoid hitting a deer. Swerving can cause motorists to lose control and travel off the road or into oncoming traffic.

• Deer rarely travel alone. Slow down and keep an eye out for more deer. If a deer crosses the road in front of a motorist, there is a good chance another deer will follow it.

• Don’t follow too closely. Remember: The driver in front might have to stop suddenly to avoid hitting a deer.

MoDOT maintenance crews remove dead deer that pose a safety hazard, meaning that they are in the driving or passing lane, or partially in either lane or on the shoulder.

Motorists can call (888) ASK-MODOT to report the location of a dead deer on the highway.

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