vehicle accidents

Watch out for Deer!

That time of year is once again upon us, a time to be vigilant and aware of our white tailed woodland friends sprinting across highways and country roads.  As much as it might seem like an odd phenomenon it’s actually a normal part of a deer’s life and to be expected.  As the daylight hours quickly wane and temperatures begin to drop we all feel a sense of calm and serenity during those breezy, cooler autumn days amid yellow, orange and red tree lines.  Well, all of us except those magnificent forest dwellers - the deer.  While birds react to this seasonal change by flying south for winter and hibernating creatures such as the groundhog begin storing up fat to sleep the coming frost filled months away, these subtle changes in temperature and daylight set off a course of action of what can only be described as insanity for our Missouri white tailed deer.

A deer’s gestation period is 201 days, so it is imperative that her new fawns will be born at the perfect time in the spring to be large enough to survive the following winter. She sends this once a year mating signal to her male counterparts with a scent referred to as estrus which creates a month plus long game of hide and seek with the veracity of a sense of life or death in the minds of the mindless hormonally overloaded buck.  In the summertime bucks actually roam the forest and grasslands together much like a group of men searching for a brat and a Pale Ale at a summer craft festival. Come autumn it is each man for himself and even the hint of competition is likely to end in a bloody brawl. The winner gets the doe, and in Darwinian terms, it’s a gene thing.  The biggest strongest bucks get to pass their genes on to the healthiest does, and consequently the next generation.  Once the chase is on, nothing and I mean nothing stands in the way of the chasing buck or the running doe, including your car.  This crazy breeding season is referred to simply as… The Rut.

According to the Missouri Federation for Conservation the onset of the rut (pre-rut) begins around September 12th, with the peak of the rut occurring around the first week of November and not entirely ending until sometime in late November. The most recent report from the Missouri Highway Patrol from 2011 details deer involved traffic accidents at 3,563 with 376 injuries and 4 fatalities.  Most of these accidents occurred between 5:00 pm and 6:59 am. Per The Insurance Journal, the United States has 200 deaths per year that occur from car accidents involving deer at a cost of $4 billion dollars a year. According to the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration 2014 saw 3,720 deer related Missouri accidents- one every 2.4 hours.  The site offers advice on how to ensure your insurance covers any damage caused by such an accident after changes in Missouri vehicle insurance laws from House Bill 1022.  There is also the recommendation to not swerve to avoid hitting a deer when that could in turn create yet another accident.

So what do you do if you hit a deer? You treat it like any other accident, report it to your local police department and call your insurance company- though as mentioned earlier now is the time to make sure your insurance policy fully covers this type of accident.  If you would like to consume the deer or have it donated for food for the underprivileged, you must first contact your county conservation agent with the Missouri Department of Conservation for authorization. 

Bottom line- be vigilant, especially in the low light and dark hours of the day.  It doesn’t hurt to slow down a little during those hours which give you a better chance to avoid hitting a deer.  If you see a deer, expect there to be more to come.   Does especially travel together and fawns stay with their mothers for up to two years.

Here’s to safe and happy travels!

By Guest Blogger: Audrey Elder - See more of Audrey's blogs at Past to Present Research 

Vehicle Accidents...Who is Responsible?

Have you ever been in a vehicle accident?  Many people can unfortunately say yes to that question with millions of accidents occurring in the US every year.  Insurance companies often offer a basic list of steps to take after an accident to reduce liability, such as, calling the police immediately to file a report, contacting your insurance company and not discussing the accident with the other party.  Although, are those steps enough to protect you in the event that there is question as to whether it is your fault?  

car accident

According to our research, no, it is not enough, and without taking the following additional steps you may find yourself in court.  According to, there are 5 additional steps you should take immediately after an accident, assuming, that you are able.  

In summary, take pictures from your view point behind the wheel right after the accident.  Also take other pictures at various angles to show a clear picture of the damage.  Be patient for the police to arrive, as it can take up to an hour, specially in a rush hour situation. In the mean time practice what you will say even recording yourself beforehand. It is also lawful to record your conversation with the police officers at the scene.  Most of all be calm and collected as possible awaiting the police to come to you at the accident scene.  

In addition, the police report is not in stone once created and can be changed, so, if the police officer erroneously quotes a statement you can request a correction.   

Another helpful site with quality information regarding this serious issue is  Who better to know what to do than experienced attorneys. Of course, their first point is not to leave the scene until you have spoke with the police.  Check on the condition of all people involved in the accident, and, exchange information without going into conversation regarding the incident. Also, speak to any witnesses present and gain their personal contact information.  

Lastly,  check out the site to learn other important details about what to do after a vehicle accident.  We at Richards' Collision Center want to do what we can to inform and protect the public in case of an accident to reduce liability and expense.  We hope that you will share this blog with those you love and care about so that they will know the right steps to take in an accident situation.