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Nov/Dec 2011 Issue

Watch out for deer on the roadway

From late fall through early winter, deer are more active, so highway officials warn motorists to take precautions to avoid vehicle-deer collisions.

The number of crashes involving deer has been climbing in recent years because of higher deer populations, increased traffic volume and the shrinking of deer habitats due to urban sprawl. November is typically the peak month for crashes because it is the heart of the deer migration and mating season.

The problem is no more apparent than in Mississippi, which has one of the highest deer populations in the country. In 2009, the state had 3,300 vehicle-deer crashes, and the number has been rising.

To reduce the risk of collisions, safety officials offer these tips:

  • Watch for deer-crossing signs and drive with caution in posted areas.
  • If you see one deer near the road, expect others to follow.
  • Drive with extra caution at night, because most crashes occur at dusk, dawn and in darkness.
  • Always buckle up and drive at safe, sensible speeds.
  • If a collision is inevitable, do not swerve to avoid the deer because it’s better to strike the deer than swerve into traffic or hit a fixed object, like a sign.

Cable barriers reduce Louisiana’s crossover crashes

Acting as a safety net, Louisiana’s cable barriers have been effective at preventing crossover crashes along busy highways, prompting the installation of more barriers in the coming months.

First introduced about five years ago along portions of Interstates 10 and 12, the cable barriers are designed to prevent head-on collisions by deflecting vehicles that veer into the median from crossing over into oncoming traffic. The barriers basically catch vehicles and redirect them into the median instead of back into traffic.

Since they were installed, there have been no incidents of vehicles crossing the median, so the state launched a $2.7 million project to install more cable barriers along a 20-mile stretch of I-10. Work began this fall and will conclude next summer across Jefferson, St. John, Ascension and East Baton Rouge parishes.

deer crossing sign

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