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State warns of deer on roadways

10/14/2013

Special to the HDN

TOPEKA -- Deer can be spotted near our state's roadways any time of the year. However, in the fall, motorists should be especially vigilant for deer crossing the highways. Deer breeding season peaks in mid-November, and this marks the period when deer-vehicle collisions are highest.

State agencies offer the following tips to avoid deer collisions:

* Be especially watchful at dawn and dusk when deer are particularly active;

* Watch for more than one deer, as they seldom travel alone;

* Reduce speed and be alert near wooded areas or green spaces such as parks or golf courses and near water sources such as streams or ponds;

* Don't swerve to avoid hitting a deer -- the most serious accidents sometimes occur when motorists swerve and collide with another vehicle or run off the road and hit an obstacle;

Heed deer crossing signs;

* Always wear a seat belt and use appropriate child safety seats; and

* Use bright lights, and slow down whenever the reflective eyes of deer are spotted.

According to Kansas Highway Patrol Lt. Joshua Kellerman, if you hit a deer, slow down and pull onto the shoulder, turn on your emergency flashers and watch for traffic if you have to exit your vehicle. If you have a cellphone and are on a Kansas highway, dial *47 for a KHP dispatcher, *582 for assistance on the Kansas Turnpike, or dial 911.

Anyone involved in a vehicle-deer crash resulting in personal injury or property damage that totals $1,000 or more is required to immediately report the crash to the nearest law enforcement agency. Failure to report any traffic crash is a misdemeanor and may result in suspension of driving privileges.

A salvage tag is required to remove a deer carcass from an accident site.

If you are involved in a non-injury crash on an interstate, U.S. highway or any divided or multi-lane road in the state of Kansas, and if you are not transporting hazardous materials, you are required by law to move your vehicle out of the lane of traffic. This law is intended to help keep drivers and passengers safe by getting them out of the lane of traffic and away from oncoming vehicles.