Posted on October 9th, 2015 by Zane Cagle
Last year, more than 3,700 traffic crashes occurred in Missouri involving deer. Two of those resulted in fatalities and more than 370 injuries. We are doing a series of driver reminders to raise awareness about peak deer season and keeping a lookout for deer crossing roadways.
While they are beautiful, majestic animals, they can create a great deal of property damage and injury in deer-related crashes.
Missouri State Highway Patrol
According to State Highway Patrol Cpt John Hotz, motorists should pay extra attention and remember that deer tend to travel in groups. If you see a doe or a buck, there is a very good chance other are in the area. Most car crashes with deer happen between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
“Typically in years past what happens is a person sees a deer, they overcorrect and drive off the right side of the road. If they’re not wearing a seatbelt, they are ejected or partially ejected from that car and they’re killed in that crash, ” said Hotz.
Hotz said overcorrecting to an oncoming deer can be very dangerous. Losing control of the car and striking an object or driving into oncoming traffic can result in head-on collision with another car.
Deer-Not Just in Rural Areas
If you live in a rural area, the notion of deer in the highway is a constant for drivers. Actually, rural drivers are very aware that a multitude of animals frequently cross the highways. If you live in a more metropolitan area, you tend to think you won’t encounter deer in the highway, but that is not always the case.
In the greater St. Louis area, individuals have been involved in serious deer-related crashes including one on Interstate 270, north of Tesson Ferry Road. In that crash, the state trooper indicated the driver had probably been fortunate to be in a large SUV and because she did not swerve or lose control of her vehicle, she was not seriously injured. Troopers often say it is best to hit the brake, resist the urge to swerve and drive “through” the animal. Resisting the urge to swerve goes against our instinct as drivers as we generally swerve to try to NOT hit something in the pathway of our vehicle.
Best Advice–Be Alert and Slow Down
The best advice the Missouri Highway Patrol gives is to “be alert” and to “slow down” in areas where you think deer may be crossing. The patrol encourages drivers to NOT assume that animals will get out of the roadway when they see your lights. Generally, it is a good idea to turn your high beams on unless there is oncoming traffic. Also, whistles and deer repellant products have not be approved or truly tested in their effectiveness to keep deer out of the roadway, thus you should not rely on those products. Awareness and slower speeds are still the best precautions to take in deer country.
On average, a car crashes into a deer once every two hours in Missouri according to statistics during October and November. November is cited as the busiest time of the year for car-deer strikes. Since it is mating season and as hunting season intensifies, deer are more on the move. As well a rise in the deer population cause them to move more into metropolitan areas.
While it is highly unlikely a deer will cross your path in downtown St. Louis, if you are traveling on the interstates or in the county you should be very vigilant for deer in the roadway. Personally, I know that deer can be common in St. Louis County including Chesterfield as well as in north county.
If You Are Involved in a Car-Deer Strike?
If you are involved in a deer-related car crash, you may need legal assistance. If you are injured, then you should call an expert car accident attorney as soon as possible after seeking medical treatment. Depending on the facts of the crash and the number of vehicles involved, it can become somewhat complicated.
Call our attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm as we offer free consultations, seven days a week. Call (314) 276-1681.