You might be surprised how many crashes were caused by deer on Mississippi’s highways last year. Officials warn drivers to be alert.

Published 11:01 am Thursday, October 28, 2021

Mississippi officials warn drivers that as the days get cooler, driving on Mississippi roads can get more unpredictable as deer become more visible on the roadways.

As the seasons slowly change into autumn, the days get shorter, and deer become more active on roadways. The Mississippi Department of Transportation reminds motorists to take precautions to avoid collisions with deer.

“There are approximately 3,700 reported deer crashes in Mississippi every year,” said Brad White, MDOT Executive Director. “Deer collisions can sometimes be life-threatening and make for costly repairs on a vehicle.”

In 2020, there were 3,784 reported deer-related crashes in Mississippi. This year there have already been 1,915 deer-related crashes in the magnolia state.

“Deer are unpredictable animals, especially when startled,” said White. “Drivers should remain alert, especially in morning and dusk hours when deer tend to be more active. Motorists should also avoid distractions and wear a seat belt.”

Motorists should be alert for large animals near the road and have a plan of action. Keeping calm and driving smart improve drivers’ chances of avoiding collisions and staying safe on the road.

Though deer season peaks from October through January, remember that deer can run on or near roadways at any time of the year. Practice safe driving at all times and keep these precautions in mind to help get through this time of year accident-free:

Don’t veer for deer. If a deer runs in front of a moving car, remain calm and brake firmly. Swerving can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles, causing an even more serious accident.

Deer are herd animals. If you see one there are likely more. Take extra caution for deer lingering around the same area.
Remain vigilant when driving at dawn and dusk. About 20 percent of deer-related crashes occur in early morning, while more than half occur between 5 p.m. and midnight.

Always buckle up for safety and drive at a safe speed.
At night use high beams, when no traffic is approaching, to illuminate the eyes of deer near the road. Make sure both headlights and high beams are clean and aimed correctly.
“All drivers should take extra care during deer season,” said White. “Always be alert and ready to respond to a deer jumping into the road in front of you.”

MDOT urges motorists to avoid distracted driving and buckle up for safety when traveling Mississippi’s highways and roadways during deer season.

For additional travel safety tips, visit GoMDOT.com/drivesmartms.