With fall upon us the Missouri Highway Patrol is urging motorists to be aware of the dangers that can arise on Missouri roads as the deer mating season runs its course. State officials say that nearly 4,000 car accidents occurred last year between vehicles and roaming deer. Fall also brings issues that tend to flush deer onto the roads, including the fall harvest and hunting season.

State officials say that it is important (especially during the low light times surrounding early evening and early dawn) for drivers to remain diligent while traveling on open roads. Highway officials caution motorists to reduce speed when spotting a deer because they often are found in groups. Animals in the roadway can cause issues for drivers. A car striking a deer can cause serious injury (including to the deer). But animals on the road can also cause other traffic problems.

For instance, officials say that a dog in the road may have led to a serious accident near Carthage, Missouri, last Friday evening. The Missouri Highway Patrol says that a 33-year-old driver tried to avoid a dog in the roadway on Missouri Highway 59 and crossed into oncoming traffic. The 16-year-old driver of an oncoming car was seriously injured when the two vehicles hit head on.

The man who swerved to apparently avoid the loose dog, and a passenger in his vehicle, suffered moderate injuries, according to the highway patrol. All three people were taken to a Joplin hospital for treatment.

While the season indicates that deer on the roadway can be hazardous to drivers, animals and other obstacles on any road anytime during the year can cause problems that can lead to a motor-vehicle wreck.

Source: Joplin Globe, “Three motorists hurt in accident south of Carthage,” Sept. 29, 2013; Columbia Daily Tribune, “Motorists urged to be aware of deer,” The Associated Press, Oct. 1, 2013