Leaves are falling. Temperatures are falling. And deer are taking their chances. Yes, folks, it's THAT time of year again.

The Kentucky State Police issued an advisory warning all motorists to be far more alert during the mating season when deer will be far more likely to roam.

Last year, there were 3,283 vehicle collisions involving deer in Kentucky. That number was up 175 from 2014. The collisions resulted in three deaths and another 163 injuries.

Further analysis indicates that the highest number of crashes occur between 5 and 7PM.

In the fall, that's twilight, a difficult time to see deer, which can easily blend into their surroundings.

The Kentucky State Police have issued defensive driving tips regarding deer traffic:

1. Be extra cautious in the early morning and evening hours when deer are most active.

2. Stay alert when driving through a deer-crossing zone. If you see one, you'll likely see more. They often travel in herds.

3. Keep your speed moderate, especially when driving on roads that border woodlands, parks, golf courses and streams. But also keep in mind that deer-related crashes also occur near cities on busy highways.

4. If there is no oncoming traffic, use your high beams. They'll reflect in the deer's eyes or on or near the roadway. That will give you increased reaction time.

5. If you see a deer, immediately slow down. Don't swerve because that could confuse the deer AND you could lose control of your vehicle. It's actually safer to hit the deer, even if it doesn't sound like it.

6. Deer are highly unpredictable. Don't expect them to stay where they are. They can run out in front of your vehicle in the blink of an eye and then just stop. In their confusion, they can even run back into the road once they've left it.

7. Those deer whistles you can get for your vehicle? They actually provide little help. And honking your horn doesn't always work either. It could cause them to move INTO your path instead of away from it.

8. Don't let the appearance of a deer surprise you so much that you quickly veer away from them. It could land you in the path of an oncoming vehicle. Or you could hit a tree or some other fixed object.

9. And, of course, ALWAYS wear your seat belt. Most people who've been killed in deer-related accidents were not properly restrained.

For more information on deer-related crashes, visit kentuckystatepolice.org/deerauto.htm.