In a State Farm survey, new data now shows that deer-vehicle collisions declined, though that trend seems more pronounced in the nation's midsection.
The odds that an individual driver in the US will crash into the four-legged road hazards during the next year have declined by 4.3 percent. Using its claims data and state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration, the State Farm insurance company calculates the chances of any single American motorist striking a deer over the next 12 months at 1 in 174, compared with 1 in 167 the year before.*
In the 41 states where these confrontations are most likely, the decline is particularly notable in North Dakota (24.8 percent) and Nebraska (22.0 percent).
For the seventh year in a row, deer-vehicle confrontations are most probable in West Virginia. The chances of any single licensed driver in that state hitting a deer between now and a year from now are 1 in 41. That's an 8.3 percent improvement from the West Virginia ratio of a year ago. Montana, (1 in 65) remains second on the likelihood list. In each of the top five states, the probability of a deer-related collision for any given vehicle is less than a year ago.
The state in which deer-vehicle mishaps are least likely is still Hawaii (1 in 6,787).
COUNTING U.S. DEER-VEHICLE CONFRONTATIONS
State Farm estimates 1.22 million collisions caused by the presence of deer between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013, a 3.5 percent decrease.
And while the number of deer-related collisions in the U.S. over the last five years has increased by 2.0 percent, when you account for the increase in the number of drivers over that period, the likelihood of being the victim of a deer-vehicle confrontation has dropped 2.5 percent.
WHEN DO DEER-VEHICLE COLLISIONS OCCUR?
State Farm's data shows that November, the heart of the deer hunting and mating seasons, is the month where deer-vehicle encounters are most likely. Approximately 18 percent of all such mishaps take place during November.
October is the second most likely month for a crash involving a deer and a vehicle. December is third.
AVOIDING DEER-VEHICLE MISHAPS
Here are tips from the Insurance Information Institute on how to reduce the odds of a deer-vehicle confrontation:
- Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds – if you see one, others are probably nearby.
- Be aware of posted deer crossing signs. They're placed in active crossing areas.
- Remember that deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m.
- Use high beam headlamps as much as possible to illuminate dark areas of roadways.
- If a deer collision seems inevitable, attempting to swerve could cause you to lose control.
- Don't rely on car-mounted deer whistles.