Deer me! Motorists urged to be on guard

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The cooler weather is bringing out more than long-sleeved jackets.

Deer are leaving the woods and venturing out onto Region 8 roads.

Sergeant George Martin with the Jonesboro Police Department said they're starting to even see some in the city.

"It's normal for this time of the year," he said. "They're starting to get more active as the temperatures are starting to drop. So, we're starting to see a lot more cross the roads."

Martin said now that the deer are starting to show themselves, motorists need to become aware of their surroundings during certain times of the day.

"Especially in the early morning and later evening times, you need to be more cautious," he said. "You just need to slow down, do the speed limit, buckle up. If you can, use your high beam headlights and have them turned on high so it projects further out if a deer crosses in front of you. And just be more cautious now that they are starting to move."

Martin said sometimes trying to avoid hitting a deer that runs in front of you can cause even more damage.

"A lot of times, especially at night, if your headlights are already on that deer it's too late. There's already a good chance you're going to hit that deer," the sergeant told Region 8 News. "And when you do that, the only thing you can really do is slow down. Don't try to veer or swerve and avoid it because a lot of times that's where we'll start seeing the bad wrecks. A car will swerve and miss the deer, but go into oncoming traffic and hit somebody head-on or go off the road and hit a telephone pole or tree or something that's going to do a lot more damage than just hitting the deer."

He said the best way to avoid hitting a deer is to watch your speed and be aware of what's in front of you or what's waiting to jump out from the side.

"If it crosses in front of you, just start to slow down," Martin said. "Maybe it will get out of your way, but that's going to be one of your more safer routes to take."

If a deer does cross in front of you, don't let down your guard.

"Be real cautious, because a lot of times there's more coming," he said. "They tend to travel with two, three or four more at a time. So, if one runs across in front of you, slow down and be cautious because there's a good chance there's a couple more coming right behind it. "

Martin said wearing your seat belt is crucial in any situation.

"Please, wear your seat belt," Martin said. "If you do hit a deer that's going to help a lot. It'll help a lot with anything you hit. Be cautious. They're moving. It's that time of year."

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