JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — Insurance companies have classified Missouri as one of three states deemed “high-risk” for deer collisions.
The other two states considered “high-risk” are Arkansas and Kansas according to State Farm, which insures between 20 and 25 percent of vehicles in Missouri, the Joplin Globe reported.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said that accidents involving deer are common but fatalities and injuries are rare. The patrol reported three deaths and just more than 300 injuries from deer collisions in 2015.
But drivers can almost always expect thousands of dollars’ worth of property damage, said Jim Camoriano, spokesman for State Farm.
“The national average of cost per claim is close to $4,200,” he said.
Auto shop manager Kelly Peterson said he’s had 15 people in the past three weeks come in to have their cars repaired after a run-in with deer. Peterson recommended motorists slow down and pay more attention than usual this time of year, especially at night.
“The rut season — November, October, December, in that order — are the three months most likely to see an accident,” said Camoriano, adding there are more than 1 million accidents in the country each year involving deer and about 37,000 statewide.
State Highway Patrol Sgt. John Lueckenhoff advises people to avoid swerving or making sudden actions.
“Don’t exacerbate the situation by doing some sort of an erratic corrective action, which causes you to run off the road and be involved in a serious crash rather than striking a deer,” he said.
Lueckenhoff said people should alert law enforcement if they hit a deer and the animal is in the middle of the road, out of consideration for other drivers.
Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com