Oh, Deer: November Most Dangerous Month for Deer-Car Collisions

The agency estimates that 1.23 million deer-car collisions happened in the U.S. between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012, putting the probability of a motorist-deer accident at 1 in 171, up from the previous year’s odds of 1 in 183. This means the cost of claims is also on the rise, with the average deer damage claim at $3,305 — 4.4% higher than the previous year.

Motorists in West Virginia have it the worst; for the sixth year, the state tops the list for the most deer-motorist collisions. State Farm’s research shows that the chances of a West Virginia motorist striking a deer over the next 12 months are 1 in 40. In second place is South Dakota, followed by Iowa, Michigan and Pennsylvania. You’re least likely to hit a deer if you live in Hawaii.

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State Farm offers the following tips for reducing the odds of a deer-car accident:

  • Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds — if you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby.
  • Be aware of posted 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 headlamps as much as possible at night to illuminate the areas from which deer will 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 place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.
  • Don’t rely on car-mounted deer whistles. 

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