JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – As the seasons slowly change and the days get shorter in Mississippi, deer become more active and visible on the state’s roadways.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) reminds drivers to take precautions to avoid collisions with deer.

“There have been a steady rise in deer-vehicle collisions 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 2022, there were 3,979 reported deer-related crashes in Mississippi. This year, there have already been 2,412 deer-related crashes in the 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 always wear a seat belt.”

Drivers 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:

  • 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 be distraction free at all times, especially during deer season,” said White. “Always be alert and ready to respond to a deer jumping into the road in front of you.”