CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) is reminding drivers to watch for deer while traveling on state roads this fall.

While drivers are urged to be cautious of white-tailed deer throughout the year, studies show that 45 percent of deer vs vehicle crashes happen during the rut or breeding season, which is typically from October to November.

Most vehicle collisions happen near dawn and dusk when deer are more likely to move during these times. “Unfortunately, these are also the times that most humans commute to and from work in their vehicles,” said SCDNR.

According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, more than 6,000 deer-vehicle crashes have been reported in the last two years.

When deer are seen well ahead of the vehicle, drivers are encouraged to sound the horn several times, flick headlights (if no oncoming traffic is present) and reduce the vehicle’s speed.

If deer are noticed only a short distance in front of the vehicle, these same techniques – horn and flicking lights – may spook the deer into running across the road, so in that case SCDNR says it’s best to just slow down.

“Always anticipate another deer if you see one or more crossing the highway and do not expect the deer to get out of the way,” the agency said.

Most serious injuries occur when the motorist loses control of the vehicle to avoid a deer and hits an immovable object like a tree or embankment. If a collision with a deer is imminent, it is best to hit the deer rather than risk losing control of the vehicle.