BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Oct. 23, 2012
-- For the sixth year in a row, West Virginia tops the list of states where an individual driver is most likely to run into a deer. In a recently released report using its claims data and state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration, the State Farm insurance company calculates the chances of a West Virginia motorist striking a deer over the next 12 months at 1 in 40, compared with 1 in 48 the year before.
South Dakota moved to second place on State Farm's list. The likelihood of a licensed driver in that state hitting a deer is 1 in 68. Iowa (1 in 71.9) drops to third, while Michigan (1 in 72.4) is a close fourth. Pennsylvania drops to fifth, but in each of the top five states the rate of deer-related collisions went up from a year ago.
The state in which deer-vehicle mishaps are least likely is still Hawaii (1 in 6,801), with odds of a driver colliding with a deer approximately equal to those of a person being struck by lightning during his lifetime.
Number Of DEER-VEHICLE CONFRONTATIONS
The number of deer-related collisions in the U.S. increased 7.7 percent over the last year, with State Farm estimating that 1.23 million collisions occurred between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012. The probability that a licensed driver was behind the wheel during one of those crashes also increased, which explains why the number of deer-related claims paid by State Farm also went up 7.9 percent over four years, while other auto claims have declined 8.5 percent.
State Farm's data shows that November is the month when deer-vehicle encounters are most likely, with 18 percent of all such mishaps taking place then. October is the second most likely month for a deer-vehicle crash, and December is third. The average property damage cost of these incidents was $3,305, up 4.4 percent from the year before.
AVOIDING DEER-VEHICLE MISHAPS
Some tips from the Insurance Information Institute on how to reduce the odds of a deer-vehicle confrontation:
- Deer generally travel in herds – if you see one, there's a good chance others are nearby.
- Be aware of deer crossing signs. These are placed in active deer crossing areas.
- Remember that deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m.
- Use high beam lights at night (whenever possible) to illuminate areas from which deer can enter roadways.
- If a deer collision seems inevitable, attempting to swerve out of the way could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or put you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.
- Don't rely on deer whistles.