Riskiest states for deer crashes

By Barbara Marquand on February 1st, 2013

A driver is more likely to hit a deer in West Virginia than in any other state, according to a recent report from State Farm.

The chance that a driver will strike a deer in the next 12 months in West Virginia is 1 in 40.

Other states in the top five:

  • South Dakota, where drivers face a 1-in-68 chance of hitting a deer in the next year
  • Iowa, 1 in 71.9
  • Michigan, 1 in 72.4
  • Pennsylvania, 1 in 76
The least risky state for deer-vehicle collisions is Hawaii, where the chance is a scant 1 in 6,801 -- about the same risk for getting struck by lightning during a lifetime. Nationwide the chance of a driver hitting a deer is 1 in 171, about the same odds of being audited by the Internal Revenue Service next tax season, State Farm says.

The figures are based on State Farm claims data and state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration.

The insurer estimates deer were involved in 1.23 million collisions from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, a 7.7 percent over the previous 12 months.

Vehicle damage from collisions with deer is covered under comprehensive insurance. The number of deer-related claims paid by State Farm has increased 7.9 percent in the last four years, despite an 8.5 percent decline in other types of collision and comprehensive auto insurance claims.

Deer-vehicle collisions are most likely to occur in the late fall, especially in November, when accidents are three times more likely to occur on one of those days than any other day from February through August.

Follow these tips from the Insurance Information Institute to avoid deer-related car accidents.

  • Stay especially alert where deer-crossing signs are posted.
  • Keep in mind that deer are most active betwen 6 and 9 p.m.
  • Use bright headlights as much as possible at night to spot deer.
  • Don't rely on car-mounted deer whistles to keep you safe.
  • If the collision seems inevitable, swerving to avoid a deer is dangerous. Attempting to serve out of the way could put you in the path of another vehicle or cause you to lose control of your car.

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