November 13, 2014

Missouri Department of Insurance cautions motorists to be extra attentive for deer

One deer strike occurred every 2.5 hours in Missouri in 2013

Jefferson City, Mo. - Drivers should be careful when traveling Missouri roadways this fall because deer are more active this time of year. The Missouri Department of Insurance reminds motorists to review their auto insurance policies to see if deer strikes are covered.

"Deer are most active this time of year and have a tendency to cross roadways," said John M. Huff, director of the department. "We remind drivers to be cognizant of their surroundings, to slow down and always wear their seat belts. Hitting a deer can damage your vehicle, resulting in injuries or even death."

November is the peak month for deer-related auto accidents. Last year, Missourians experienced 3,498 deer-related auto accidents. One deer strike occurred every 2.5 hours in Missouri. There were no fatalities, but 303 people were injured.

Motorists must have comprehensive insurance on their auto policies to cover damage caused by deer strikes. Comprehensive is optional insurance and consumers should consult with their insurance agent to determine how much coverage is needed. Drivers also can find out the minimum auto insurance required in Missouri and other optional coverage with the department's online auto insurance resources, including an auto guide.  In addition, view tips on how to avoid deer strikes by watching DIFP Weekly.

Here are some tips to stay safe on the road this fall:

  • Slow down.
  • Be aware of surroundings. Deer tend to cross roadways near streams or wooded areas surrounded by farmland.
  • Deer often travel in groups. Be on guard when you see a single deer since more can be close by.
  • Deer activity is not restricted to rural areas. Last year, 26 percent of deer-related accidents occurred in urban areas.
  • Scan the road from one ditch line to the other. Don't look straight ahead.
  • Do not swerve abruptly to avoid hitting a deer: You could drive into oncoming traffic or roll your vehicle.
  • Most deer strikes occur between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. The majority of accidents involving deer occur between October and December, with the most in November.