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Deer … Fall’s most dangerous road hazard

As the leaves change color and the cooler temperatures settle into the region many thoughts may spring to mind; turkey, family, shopping, and hunting.

Deer season is coming up but hunters are not the only ones that should be aware of the four legged creatures at this time of year.

Traffic accidents occur far too often in states like Arkansas with a large deer population; which has increased for 2012 bringing the state into the top ten worst states for these type of accidents. State Farm ranks Arkansas as 9th in the country for these type of deer and vehicle collisions that become fatal in many cases.

Fall is an especially bad time of year for deer to be seen on roads because of their mating season, which brings the activity and movement of the animals into high gear.

The state does what it can with awareness, and signs to make people aware of places that are prone for deer to be crossing, as a natural coarse hunters have been enlisted to help the problem.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has increased bag limits for deer hunters in south Arkansas from 4 to 6 deer per season, and included doe-only hunts to try and solve the increasing problem with deer related traffic accidents. Hunters are happy, and the roads are safer, but caution should never wane. With 20,000 deer-related collisons a year in Arkansas alone, staying vigilant is the only way to stay safe, but State Farm and the Federal Highway Administration suggest others.

Being aware and alert is the best way to stay safe on the highways and byways, and remember to use highbeams.

Deer move the most at dusk between 5 and 9 p.m. and in the early morning, and using the better light can help you to see the danger of a deer before they cross your path. They are herd animals that will move in groups-so if you see one you can count on there being others.

The biggest misconception is that “deer whistles” work, according to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department these devices are not able to keep deer from crossing the path of your car, and they have shown to lull drivers into a false sense of security; which make them more harmful than good.

Swerving to avoid deer, espacially at high speed can actually be worse than hitting them head-on. Losing control of your vehicle can lead to much worse scenarios. Drivers should keep their eyes open, and stay safe.

Bagging a buck with a new 30-06 rifle is one thing, but with a new Buick is another.