Large animals, like deer, can do thousands of dollars of damage to the front of a vehicle. If they come up onto the hood and through the windshield, their sharp hooves can cause serious injury to drivers and passengers.
Forty-four percent of deer crashes consistently occur during the months of October, November, and December of each year.
The Issue in the Kansas City Region
Vehicle-animal collisions are an issue in the Kansas City region due to rapid growth that can displace animal habitats. Deer and other animals can be found throughout the region, not just in rural areas. Locations with rapid residential growth and new commercial developments can cause these animals to seek new homes.
For the Kansas counties in the region in 2002, Johnson County had the highest number of deer-related crashes in the state. However, the number of crashes does not comprise a large percentage of total crashes as in more rural portions of the state. Missouri county data concerning deer crashes is unavailable.
Number of Crashes
What You Can Do
- When confronted by an animal in the road, the first instinct is to swerve to avoid it or to slam on the brakes. Both actions can cause the car to skid out of control, resulting in severe injury to the driver and other car occupants.
- If you see deer or other animals ahead, stay in your lane and decelerate carefully.
- Deer can jump onto the road so quickly that a driver has little or no time to react, so the best protection against deer is defensive driving. Know their habitats and habits.
- Deer are most often seen at creek bottoms and in heavily wooded areas. Open fields, where they forage for food, are likely locations. Dawn and dusk are prime times for deer movement.
- One deer can signify the presence of more deer. Deer often travel in groups, so when one crosses the road, others may be waiting to cross.
- Be especially careful in areas where “Deer Crossing” signs are posted. Vehicle speed is a significant factor in deer-related crashes, so slow down.
- Don’t rely on passive vehicle devices like deer whistles. They’re not always reliable.
- Keep an eye out for deer. Be more alert to the possibility of confronting obstacles in the road.
- Always buckle up.