The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is warning Missouri motorists of deer on roads during the peak months of October and November. MoDOT reported car and deer collisions result in almost 200 deaths and $1.1 billion in damages in the United States every year. In 2017, there were 4,111 reported collisions involving deer in Missouri alone. Of those collisions, 389 caused injuries, a number that included 7 fatalities. MoDOT relied on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for research that showed 5 of the 7 Missouri fatalities occurred during October and November. Further, 34% of the total injuries caused by car and deer collisions took place during the same two months.
According to DMV.org, a collision with some sort of wildlife occurs every 39 minutes. 1 out of every 17 car collisions involve wildlife. 89% of wildlife collisions occur on two lane roads. Missouri motorists should beware of yellow animal-crossing signs. These signs are posted at known high-travel areas of deer and other animals. Further, motorists should be advised car headlights usually have a range of about 250 feet. To allow for sufficient brake time, reduce your speed at night to avoid collisions.
Deer are most active during the period immediately before and after sunrise and sunset. In addition, deer often act erratically such as stopping in the middle of the road or entering moving traffic without warning. MoDOT offered the following safety tips to avoid collisions with deer:
- Always wear your seatbelt. It’s easy: Buckle Up Phone Down.
- Control your speed, stay alert and avoid distracted driving.
- Don’t swerve to avoid hitting a deer. Swerving can cause motorists to lose control and travel off the road or into oncoming traffic.
- Deer rarely travel alone. Slow down and keep an eye out for more deer. If a deer crosses the road in front of you, there is a good chance another deer will be following it.
- Don’t follow too closely. Remember: the driver in front of you might have to stop suddenly to avoid hitting a deer.
In addition, remember to watch for MoDOT maintenance crews who remove dead deer that pose a safety hazard to Missouri motorists. Often crews are tasked with removing deer located in a driving or passing lane or on the shoulder of the roadway. To report the location of a dead deer that poses a safety hazard, motorists can call MoDOT at 1-800-ASK-MODOT.
Car collisions with deer are often not covered by a motorists’ basic collision or liability insurance coverage. Usually an insurance carrier’s optional comprehensive coverage is designed to cover these types of accidents. Accordingly, motorists are encouraged to make sure they have this type of coverage from their insurance agent. If not, you could be a part of the more than $1 billion in annual uninsured losses caused by deer accidents alone. The optional comprehensive coverage typically includes a deductible.