Deer crossing signs are particularly important at this time of year as the number of deer collisions increase in the fall.
It’s deer mating season, which doubles the likelihood of collisions and with the leaves turning colour, more drivers are on the road and stopping to looks at the red and gold trees.
October, November and December are the times of year when collisions are most likely, according to State Farm Insurance.
For the last 15 years, State Farm has conducted deer claim study that ranks states by the potential likelihood a driver has of hitting a large animal, like deer, elk, moose or caribou.
Most accidents happen at dusk and dawn when the light can be distracting to drivers and that’s also when mating deer are most active.
This year’s study has some good news for West Virginia drivers. WV continues to lead the nation in the likelihood of having an insurance claim involving a deer. However, their one out of every 43 drivers stat represents a 4.7 percent decrease from 2016.
Unfortunately, there were some increases in likelyhood among the top 10 over last year’s study. Montana drivers have a one in 57 chance of a collision. This is a 1.8 percent increase. Pennsylvania drivers have a one in 63 chance of a crash, a 6.3 percent increase from 2016.
The top 10 states where a driver was most likely to have a large animal claim remain fairly consistent. Wisconsin moved into the top five, swapping positions with South Dakota. Wyoming moved into the top 10 at number eight. North Dakota moved up to number 10. South Carolina is no longer in the top 10.
Thirteen states had no change in ranking.
Here are some tips:
- 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 focus on the road ahead.
The insurance companies estimates that 1.35 million auto-deer collisions occurred in the U.S. between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. These crashes were costly for drivers, with a national cost per claim average of $4,179.
So if an auto-deer collision occurs, here’s what you should do:
- Move your vehicle to a safe place. If possible, pull over to the side of the road, and turn on your hazard lights. If you must leave your vehicle, stay off the road and out of the way of any oncoming vehicles. Deer are most active at dusk and dawn—times when you or your vehicle may be less visible to other motorists.
- Call the police. Alert authorities if the deer is blocking traffic and creating a threat for other drivers. If the collision results in injury or property damage, you may need to fill out an official report. This report also can prove useful when filing your insurance claim.
- Document the incident. If it’s safe to do so, take photographs of the roadway, your surroundings, damage to your vehicle, and any injuries you or your passengers sustained. If witnesses stop, take down their account of what occurred, and ask for their contact information.
- Stay away from the animal. A frightened, wounded deer could use its powerful legs and sharp hooves to harm you.
November has the highest amount of car and animal crashes according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. October has the second most.