It’s the time of year to watch out for deer

Two deer graze recently north of town. As the weather cools, the rutting season heats up, and deer are more active along the roads. Drivers should be especially alert for deer movement in the early morning and evening hours.

Love is in the autumnal air for Kansas deer.

It’s mating season: perhaps a good time for our woodland friends, but a serious danger for drivers who may come across them on the road.

Last year, 200 car vs. deer accidents occurred in Douglas County, according to statistics from the Kansas Department of Transportation. Statewide, two people were killed and 297 injured in accidents involving deer. Douglas County sheriff’s deputies have responded to 76 accidents so far this year.

Compiled from information provided by Kimberly Qualls, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Transportation, and Sgt. Steve Lewis, a sheriff’s office spokesman, here are some tips to help you avoid accidents and to respond appropriately if one happens.

• Be on the lookout, especially where you see deer-crossing signs, but know that deer can be pretty much anywhere. They particularly like wooded areas with water supplies.

• Deer are particularly active around dawn and dusk and usually travel in groups. So if you see one, expect to see others.

• Don’t swerve to avoid a deer. Qualls said that the most serious deer-related accidents happen when drivers try to avoid a deer coming onto the road; drivers can easily lose control of the car.

• If you can’t avoid a collision, brake firmly, hold the steering wheel straight and stay in your lane.

• Report any accidents to 911 and, if possible, stay in your car until help arrives.