Sedgwick County led the state in deer-related accidents last year, says the Kansas Department of Transportation.
KDOT and the Kansas Highway Patrol are warning drivers to be on the lookout for deer on the highway during the fall when accidents become more prevalent.
A release from the agencies notes that 15 percent of vehicle crashes last year were deer-related. A good chunk of those accidents happened in Sedgwick County, which had 422 deer-vehicle crashes in 2014, the most of any county.
So what should you do if a deer jumps out in front of you on the highway? The answer may surprise you. Don’t swerve. Keep on driving, even if it means striking the deer with your car.
“If you are unfortunate enough to have a deer enter the highway in front of your car, it is best to hit the animal and not swerve to avoid it,” said the KHP’s Lt. Adam Winters. “Often we find more serious crashes occur when you swerve in avoidance.”
KDOT also offers a few tips to avoid a collision with the deer in the first place, including reducing speed near wooded areas or other green spaces and being especially watchful at dusk and dawn when deer are more active.
If you do hit a deer, slow down, turn on your emergency flashers and stay in the vehicle if possible until law enforcement arrives.
“Don’t worry about the animal,” the release says. “Law enforcement will arrange to have the animal removed from the road when they arrive.”
The map below shows how the majority of the accidents are concentrated in Eastern Kansas, where the majority of the population is. The darker the color, the more accidents there were in 2014.
But if you look at how many deer accidents there are per 1,000 residents, many of the most accident prone counties are in the center of the state. The darker the color, the more accidents there were per 1,000 residents.