The roads of rural Indiana and Kentucky have their share of traffic dangers. None is more pronounced this time of year than that of deer.

The Indiana State Police remind motorists that fall is the peak season for deer-related vehicle accidents. Deer seemingly come out of nowhere to become a serious threat, so keen attention to driving defensively is about all you can do prevent an unfortunate accident.

The seasonal increase in deer activity is brought about by the approaching breeding season. Other factors contributing to accidents are deer density, crop harvesting, vehicle density, surrounding habitat, speed limits and time of day. A few other things to consider, according to the Department of Natural Resources:

• Fall is the most common season to strike a deer.

• Deer are most active between sunset and sunrise.

• Deer often travel in groups, so if you see one, another is likely nearby.

• Be especially careful in areas where you have seen deer before.

• Use high beams when there is no opposing traffic; scan for deer's illuminated eyes or dark silhouettes along the side of the road.

• If you see a deer, slow your speed drastically, even if it is far away.

• Exercise extreme caution along woodlot edges, at hills or blind turns.

• Never swerve to avoid hitting a deer; most serious crashes occur when drivers try to miss a deer but hit something else.

• Pay attention to traffic signs warning of deer crossings.

If you hit a deer, exercise caution. Don't approach the deer unless you're sure it's dead. Deer are gentle creatures, but their hooves are sharp and powerful.