MSHP cautions drivers — remember to watch for deer this fall Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 October 2017
Special to GUIDON

According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, autumn is the season Missouri puts on its prettiest face. We’re tired of the summer heat, so it’s good to have a change. But, we have to stay on top of Missouri’s ever-changing road and weather conditions.

The Missouri Highway Patrol offered some pointers while driving Missouri roads in the fall.

Those beautiful leaves will fall, so watch for them as they pile up on the road. They create a slick spot when they get wet.

The farmers are trying to get their crops out of the fields. Continue to be patient when their machinery is on the road.
Courtesy photo

Due to changing temperatures, beware of frost on bridge floors. The kids are back in school. Remember, on a two-lane roadway if a school bus is stopped displaying warning signals and is either loading or unloading children, you must stop when both meeting and following the bus.

However, it is only necessary to stop on a four-lane highway when following the bus.

Deer are plentiful in Missouri and one can run suddenly in front of your car. Many times it is best to steer straight and slow down instead of swerving right or left to avoid a collision.

When it comes to deer and driving, the Camden County Sheriff’s Department provided some good safety driving tips.

When driving this fall, you should:

Watch for the rest of the gang. Deer are pack animals, and rarely travel alone. If a deer crosses in front of you, chances are there are      more nearby. Slow down and keep an eye out for more deer darting across the road.

Timing is everything. Deer are most active at dusk and dawn: periods when your vision is most compromised. To add to their terrible timing, deer are on the move during mating season (between October and January) when you’re more likely to travel after the sun sets. Slow down and stay alert, especially after dark.

Wear your seat belt. It may not prevent a collision, but if the inevitable happens a seat belt can reduce injuries. This is especially true if you lose control and collide with something bigger, and more stationary than a deer.

Take a moment to reflect. First, look for the road signs. The yellow diamonds with the deer on it are placed in high-traffic areas for deer. You may also spot a deer because their eyes will brightly reflect a car’s headlights, making them easier to spot.

Stay center. On a multi-lane road, the center lane is your safest bet for avoiding a deer collision, as long as your local traffic laws permit it. This gives deer plenty of space; and in case your vehicle does startle them, it gives you more time to react if one darts onto the road.

Stay the course. If you see a deer, brake firmly and calmly, and stay in your lane. Swerving could make you lose control of your vehicle and turn a bad situation much worse. Not to mention, deer are unpredictable, and you could swerve directly into their changed path.

Honk. Some experts recommend that one long blast of the horn will scare deer out of the road. Do not rely on hood whistles or other devices designed to scare off deer — it certainly doesn’t hurt to have them, but don’t get complacent.

If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision with a deer and if the above plan fails (it happens to the best drivers), you should take the following steps in the deer collision aftermath.

Pull to the side of the road as soon as it is safe to do so.

Turn on your hazard lights and remain in the vehicle until you are sure it is safe.

Call emergency services if injuries are involved or the local police for assistance.

Stay away from the deer. If it is still alive, it could be confused, injured and dangerous if approached. When contacting the authorities, let them know if the deer is in a dangerous spot on the road so that it can be removed.

(Editor's note: Information compiled provided by the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Camden County Sheriff’s Department)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 October 2017 )