Two people died and 533 were injured in the nearly 10,000 accidents involving deer last year, the Kansas Department of Transportation reported.

Both fatalities were in Jackson County in northeast Kansas.

The peak season for deer-vehicle accidents is fast approaching, and authorities are sounding the alarm for motorists to be watchful as they drive, especially at daylight and at dusk.

The 9,607 accidents last year — 15 percent of all accidents in Kansas — involving deer represents an increase of nearly 500 from 2013. It’s still down from 2010, when more than 10,000 accidents were reported.

In the past five years, KDOT statistics show, nearly 50,000 accidents involving deer have been reported to authorities. Twenty-two people were killed in the crashes and another 2,696 people suffered injuries.

Mid-November is the peak time for encounters with deer, as the mating season is also at its peak. Deer also are on the move looking for new locations as crops are harvested.

Being alert for deer and avoiding the urge to take extraordinary actions to miss the deer are the best methods to reduce the severity of a crash.

“If you are unfortunate enough to have a deer enter the highway in front of your car, it is best to hit the animal and not swerve to avoid it,” said Kansas Highway Patrol Lt. Adam Winters. “Often we find more serious crashes occur when you swerve in avoidance.”

Often, swerving to avoid a deer will result in vehicles being involved in more severe crashes.

Other tips that might help avoid deer-vehicle crashes:

• 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.

• Deer crossing signs show where high levels of deer/vehicle crashes have occurred in the past.

• Use bright lights to help you detect deer as far ahead as possible.

In the event of a crash, call the highway patrol. On a cellular phone, they can be reached by dialing star-47 or by calling 911.