Oh Dear… What Are The Odds Of Hitting A Deer?

An annual report from State Farm shows a reduction in deer-related crashes.

Overall in the U.S., drivers were less likely — one in 167 — to have a crash involving a collision with deer, elk, moose, or caribou. Last year’s survey put that chance at one in 162. It is estimated deer, elk, moose, and caribou collisions dropped slightly to 1.33 million in the U.S. between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018 — down from 1.34 million in 2017. And, this is despite the fact that there are nearly four million more licensed drivers.

Fall Season Is Most Dangerous: The chance of hitting a deer, or another large animal, doubles in the fall. The months with the most claims are November, October, and December, in that order.

Dawn And Dusk Times Are Most Dangerous: There is also an increased risk of collision with deer around dawn and dusk.

The Insurance Information Institute estimates that there are more than 1.6 million vehicle collisions with deer each year, resulting in over $4.6 billion in vehicle damage, medical costs, and other expenses.

Do Whistles Of Deer Reflectors Work?  A wildlife-vehicle collision study by DOT.gov finds, “Most studies testing the effectiveness of mirrors and/or reflectors on reducing WVCs found that they had (1) no effect, (2) mixed results, or (3) inconclusive results,” and “there is scientific proof that their reflectors do work.” Furthermore, “Many literature reviews and annotated bibliographies deem audio repellants ineffective in terms of modifying animal behavior for the goal of deer death reduction.”

So… What can you do?  Drive safely!

West Virginia tops the list for the twelfth consecutive year. However, the likelihood of having an insurance claim involving a deer was one in 46 for West Virginia drivers — down three points from last year.

Chances Of Hitting A Deer By State:

  • Michigan 1 in 80
  • Wyoming 1 in 88
  • Ohio 1 in 134
  • Maine 1 in 135
  • Tennesse 1 in 173
  • Colorado 1 in 277
  • Washington 1 in 395

 

 

No matter where you live, or what time of day you are driving, it’s important to remain alert. Keep your eyes up and focused on the road. This helps you take action in the event a deer is suddenly in your path. Other tips to help keep drivers safe include:

  • Slow down, particularly at dusk and dawn.
  • If you see one deer, be prepared for more deer to cross the road.
  • Pay attention to deer crossing signs.
  • Always buckle up — every trip, every time.
  • Use your high beams to see farther, except when there is oncoming traffic.
  • Brake if you can, but avoid swerving. This can result in a more severe crash.
  • Remain focused on the road. Scan for hazards, including animals.
  • Avoid distractions. Devices or eating might cause you to miss seeing an animal.
  • Do not rely on products such as deer whistles. They are not proven effective.
  • If riding a motorcycle, always wear protective gear. Keep the focus on the road ahead.

What If You Hit An Animal? Call local law enforcement if you have a collision with an animal; they will direct you to your next step.
In some states there are specific requirements if you hit an animal; check with your Department of Motor Vehicles in your state.