This month and next month, your chances of literally reacting like a deer in headlights are substantially high, according to research from State Farm.
In an article posted by our friends at KickingTires, the insurance agency estimates that 1.23 million deer-vehicle 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 last year.
State Farm says these types of crashes are three times more likely to occur in November than any day between February and August. We would note that since pickups are typically bigger and heavier than a normal car, you might feel (and be) a bit safer if you cross paths with a good-sized buck or doe while behind the wheel. State Farm did not break down the statistics by make and model but we'd guess that vehicle damage is likely to be significant regardless.
West Virginia tops the list for the most deer-motorist collisions. In second place is South Dakota, followed by Iowa, Michigan and Pennsylvania. As you might expect, Hawaii had the lowest likelihood of a collision with a deer. Now be careful out there.
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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.