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Kansas Deer/Vehicle Collisions Peak In November

Nov. 1, 2004 (04-146)


News Contact: Stan Whitley, (785) 296-3585

Kansas deer/vehicle collisions peak in November

You know that deer in the headlights look? In Kansas, it’s an all too common occurrence in the month of November. KDOT statistics show that November has been the month when the highest number of deer/vehicle collisions occur. Motorists are encouraged to be on particularly high alert November 17 - historically the day deer/vehicle collisions peak in the state.

“Last year we had 2,000 deer/vehicle collisions in the month of November and 75 of those collisions occurred on the 17th,” said Deb Miller, KDOT Secretary of Transportation. “These collisions can result in deaths, injuries and millions of dollars in property damage. Motorists' awareness and defensive driving can play vital roles in helping us address this serious safety concern."

One of the main reasons there is a greater potential for being in a deer/vehicle accident in November is the deer mating season. Deer are particularly active during this period in November and December.

In addition, deer tend to widen their foraging range as they build up their fat reserves for the winter. And, they often migrate from one foraging range to another during the early winter, exposing themselves to risks, like highways. A reduction in daylight hours also contributes to increased deer/vehicle collisions.

Last year there were 9,108 deer/vehicle collisions in Kansas that resulted in 332 injuries. Deer/vehicle collisions peaked in 1999 at 10,312, but the good news is the number of collisions has gone down the past two years.

Deer/vehicle collisions occurred in every Kansas county last year (See map below). In 37 Kansas counties, 30 percent or more of all their accidents were deer related. Johnson County had the most accidents with 369, followed by Sedgwick County with 322 and Leavenworth County with 302.

KDOT encourages motorists to observe the following tips to avoid deer collisions:

  • Be especially watchful at dawn and dusk when deer are particularly active
  • Deer seldom travel alone. Chances are that if you see one deer crossing a road, there are others nearby
  • Reduce your speed and be alert near wooded areas or green spaces like parks or golf courses and near water sources like streams or ponds
  • Don’t swerve to avoid a collision with a deer. The most serious accidents occur when motorists are taking evasive action.
  • Watch out for deer crossing signs, and always wear a seat belt

Deer Accidents by County 2003