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KSP to drivers: Be on the lookout for deer

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Autumn is in full swing in Kentucky decorating its landscape and roadways with vibrant, colorful foliage.  These fall colors serve to remind drivers that they will see an increased movement of deer throughout the Commonwealth. In addition, deer season begins Nov. 10 and motorists are more likely to encounter these animals on or near roadways.
Spokesperson for KSP, Sgt. Rick Saint-Blancard says motorists need to take extra precautions when driving during fall months.
“It is extremely important to recognize this ever-present risk, especially at this time of year when nearly fifty percent of all collisions with deer occur,” says Saint-Blancard.
“Last year, we had 2,938 deer-related collisions in Kentucky with three of those being fatal collisions,” adds Saint-Blancard.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are approximately 1 million deer related vehicle crashes each year that kill nearly 200 people, injure over 10,000 and result in over $1 billion in vehicle damage.
Saint-Blancard offered the following tips for drivers:
· Be extra cautious in the early morning and evening hours. Deer are most active during these low-light periods when humans see worst and reaction time is slow.
· Stay alert when driving through a known deer-crossing zone. If you see one deer, look for more. They often travel in herds.
· Drive at a moderate speed, especially on roads bordering woodlands, parklands, golf courses and streams. However, remember that many deer crashes occur on busy highways near cities.
· Use high beam headlights if there is no oncoming traffic. High beams will reflect in the eyes of deer on or near the roadway, providing increased driver reaction time.
· Upon seeing a deer, immediately slow down. Do not swerve -- this could confuse the deer about where to run. It could also cause you to lose control and hit a tree or another car. It is generally safer to hit the deer rather than running off the road or risking injury to other motorists.
· Deer are often unpredictable, especially when faced with blinding headlights, loud horns and fast-moving vehicles. Don’t expect them to stay where they are. They can dart in front of you at the last moment, stop in the middle of the road, cross quickly and return to the road or even move toward an approaching vehicle.
· Deer whistles on cars provide little help and blowing the car horn doesn’t always solve the problem. Blowing the horn may cause them to move, but not necessarily in the direction you want.
· Always wear your safety belt. Historically, most people injured or killed in deer/auto collisions were not properly restrained.
Citizens can contribute to highway safety by reporting erratic drivers to the Kentucky State Police toll-free at 1 (800) 222-5555. Callers will remain anonymous and should give a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number if possible.