JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – As the seasons begin to change in Mississippi, deer will become more active and visible on roadways. Leaders with the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) are encouraging drivers to take precautions in order to avoid collisions with deer.

“There are approximately 3,800 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 2021, there were 3,861 reported deer-related crashes in Mississippi. This year, there have already been 1,984 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.”

Deer season peaks from October through January, but officials said deer can run on or near roadways at any time of the year. 

Here are some precautions to keep in mind while driving:

  • 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.  

“Drivers should be extra cautious during deer season,” said White. “Always be alert and ready to respond to a deer jumping into the road in front of you.”