It's that time of year again. Deer, elk, and other animals are making their way down from higher elevations, and spending more time in lower fields during the evening, night, and early morning.

If you've lived in Montana for awhile, you've most likely had a close run in with a deer on the highway this time of year. Hitting a deer can be devastating, and potentially deadly. It can result in major body damage to your vehicle, so it's best to try to avoid them at all costs while driving.

As we head into fall and temperatures continue to cool off, you'll see more deer at lower elevations and near highways. If you are driving during a peak time for deer crossings, it's a good idea to take it slow. You want to make sure you have enough time to respond if a deer suddenly bolts out into the road.

Make sure you keep your guard up. In more forested areas, watch for deer in the ditches and along forest edges. Deer are most active near dawn and dusk, but during the rut they may race across the road any time of the day or night.

No matter how vigilant you are, sometimes deer appear suddenly and you don't have much time to react. If you are cautious and slow down, it will help you avoid a collision.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid hitting a deer while driving: