November Most Dangerous Month for Deer Collisions

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. 

Click the image below to launch a larger photo.

Deer Accidents by State

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.


Sweet cant wait till gun season!!!!

(•Don't rely on car-mounted deer whistles) LMFAO they really make car mounted deer whisles?

@Johnny doe yea they do it's like a dog whistle for a dog guess the deer hear it and decide to not cross the road lol you can't hear them but deer can!

Two in a freezer already - in a name of making roads safe;-)

@DODGEGUY Never heard of them before, but it sure made my day with a good laugh LOL!

@johnny doe yea I seen some in autozone once I was like wtf?? Lol just just guy trying to make money!

Really, never heard of Car mounted dear whistles? I seem them on cars all over the place around here.

How about elk? Definitely see more of them around here than deer.

We havea lot of Caribu up here.

Hit a doe at 80 mph in Kentucky with a crew cab d-max. Fortunately I had a Ranch Hamd bumper. The collision flatted the tire but the truck didn't get one scratch. The doe was chunks of meat scattered for 100 yards. Ranch Hand makes good stuff.

Take note of those states with high risk accidents. That's where the worst drivers in our country live.

I'd rather hit a deer than a moose. Those long legs mean you are getting all of that carcass come through your window. My brother hit a moose while coming home from work during a blizzard. He saw it step onto the road and layed down on the seat. He could feel the fur on his face.

One of the guys who rides my bus hit a deer in his new F-150 extended cab. It did a lot of damage to the front. I once had a deer run out in front of my car and I tapped it, fortunately the deer nor the car was damaged.

Here it is Feral Camels in Central Australia, from introduced animals from India in the 1880's. There are now 1 million of them.

@Red Lets see how you do on snow and ice.

@Jeff S. My f150 cost me bout 3 grand to fix when I hit a deer in mine.

Thier are a lot of variables when hitting a deer including speed, and where you hit the deer. A lot of times in a car you will just hit the legs and then the deer will hit the windshield. In a truck or SUV you may take the hole deer on the front end causing more damage.

The first of the month is the most dangerous time around PUTC.

Sales figures time ;)

Best thing you can do for a truck is to get a steel bumper. In cars/SUVs where that's not an option a good brushguard or pushbar can really help reduce the damage from lower speed impacts. Higher speed impacts they help keep you safe (deer gets caught up on bars and doesn't get to the windshield, but you'll still do mega damage with the car. Note that bullbars / brushguards can cause more body damage in certain situations in certain impacts. Its all about weighing the odds.

I hear there is a drought in the US.

In Australia when we have drought conditions our kangaroos forage along the grassy edges of roadways. I think this is becasue water run off and no other animal is stupid enough to eat there.

So we run over quite a few roos during droughts.

I was wondering if your deer will do the same.

You just can't put any bullbar on a vehicle. Especially if it has airbags.

I know my ute's bullbar is designed so it doesn't interfere with the airbag's sensor.

Airbag deployment relies on G forces, so some kind of accelerometer is used.

It's very important to understand this. Don't just use any bar or make one at home, especially if you have airbags.

I should have added, don't modify the front of an airbag equiped vehicle. Or even the sides of the vehicle.

Remember the engineers who design these things have a better understanding of what's required.

@phillyguy--I prefer steel bumpers on a truck but unfortunately the trend in trucks is for plastic bumpers painted to match the body with styrofoam backs. These bumpers would not withstand hitting a deer nor could you mount a brush guard. Toyota and Nissan have done to the plastic bumpers and Ford and Ram are going to them on some truck models as well and GM will probably follow. As they lighten the trucks up to meet the new fuel standards they will sustain more body damage and become more expensive to repair.

@Big Al from Oz-You are right about airbags but there are other things as well that are being filtered down to trucks from cars. Many cars have cruise control that automatically slows down if a slower vehicle is in front and the warning systems that beep if a vehicle approaches your blind spot. Vehicles have become more and more complex and will continue to become more so.

@Big Al from Oz-Yes deer will be more of a problem during a drought. Deer have become so much of a problem that one suburban township in Northern Kentucky let bow hunters hunt for a few weeks in November within city limits just to address the over population of deer. When I lived in East Texas we had a huge problem with deer and at the Bush International Airport in Houston deer will run out in the runways along with the birds and geese flying into planes. The subdivision that I live in is surrounded by woods that are full of deer, raccoons, and other creatures. I even spotted a red fox on my street and I have had deer on my front lawn during the daylight hours.

@madmax--I live in Hebron in Thornwilde. There are lots of deer in N KY. I am not a hunter but they could stand to thin out some of them. There is no danger of the deer becoming endangered. Just south of here I lived near Warsaw along the Ohio River and the deer would swim across the river to Patriot, Indiana and back. One time I saw a big buck and I thought it was a cow because it was so big. The deer use to get in the Soybean fields and graze, it was hard keeping them out of the soybeans and the corn.

@ Big Al. You're right about the airbags. Each person will have to figure out what is best for his particular vehicle. A little bit of armor can go a long way to helping out in an accident though. I saw the results of a guy with a solid brush guard (though not push bars and not a heavy duty steel bumper) on his truck hitting a 2000 lb steer. Was early morning and the sun hadn't come out yet, and the stupid angus had gotten out of the barn and made their way onto the road. Black on black is tough to see. He saw them (two of them) at the last minute, swerved to avoid one and hit the other. He couldn't have been going that fast, but was still probably running at 20 mph or so. Brush guard left him with needing a new headlight, small amount of body damage, and needing a new brushguard. Would've been much worse without it.

I also used to do some work with the police at volunteer events in Suburban PA (deer are a big problem there) and have asked them about their opinions. They claim that in the car/deer crashes they see that generally any sort of brushguard / bull bar'd car tends to come out better than one not.

I am not claiming they are the bee all end all, some bull bars are really cheap tube steel. Just some food for thought for people that live in risky areas. Deer are really stupid, sometimes they run out of the woods and literally hit the side of a moving car. Not a lot you can do to armor against that.

We have been in the national news lately for the new 85mph hwy that just opened last week. Not mentioned is that it is a toll road. Pay to go really fast!
Other than a one car rollover, all reported accidents have been with wildlife, most of those involved ferral hogs.
What I didn't know is: Hog's eyes do not reflect light back to the source like most other creatures. They are also dark in color making them hard to see at night until it is too late. At 90mph (because we all know 85 means 90) this can be a real problem! In fact, the rollover accident was likely a swerve to avoid something.
Then there is the Armadillo that would be unharmed if it just let a car pass over his low stature, except when startled, they jump straight up into your grill!

@Stevadore --Are you talking about the road outside of Austin? I use to live in Texas and one time I was going thru New Braunfels early in the morning and the deer were out in full force. I almost hit several deer even after slowing down. I remember this VW Bug passed me doing at least 80 and almost hit some deer.

Yes it is true about Armadillos they can almost survive anything.

@Jeff: You are correct. Same route to San Antonio as IH35, parallel and to the South.
We have some communities in and around Austin that have a BIG problem w/Deer. (Mule and Whitetail). They have run information campains and instated fines to keep residents from feeding them. I guess they are just too cute to resist. Driving can't get much worse than dodging fearless wildlife in suburban traffic areas.
Another fact about Armadillos: They can carry Leprosy!

@Steveadore--Yes I knew that. I lived in Texas for 29 years and graduated from Baylor University. I miss it but where I am now is where my job is. It is nice in N KY with rolling hills and lots of trees but the winters can get to be tiresome. We have lots of deer in KY and when I lived in the country we had wild turkeys.

As for trucks I have not had any real complaints about Chevy but FordTrucks1 does have some valid points about some of the interiors, they tend to have more hard plastics and a cheaper look. I grew up with Chevys and learned to drive on them and I have had two Chevy cars and one Chevy truck. All and all they have been good and so have the 2 Fords, 1 Chrysler, 1 Buick, 1 Honda, and 1 Mitsubishi. I think rounded wheel wells look better but the ones they have now would not be a deal breaker for me. Drive what you like and others opinions really do not matter. Most cars and trucks made today are good and can give you many years of reliable service if proper maintained and not abused. Proper maintenance is the key to longevity and satisfaction with any product.

I can see how hogs could cause a roll over. A large dense mass that rolls under a vehicle. I've seen similar problems with bears.
@Stevedore - you make an interesting point about animal's eyes reflecting light. I find deer eyes really light up. Moose don't have the same brightness and are harder to see. I used to run 3 KC Daylighter's on my trucks when I used to travel a lot at night. I had the left light aimed into the left ditch and the right one at the right ditch. That set up saved me a few times.

I disagree with that map. Alabama should be listed with the high risk states. These monster rodents are running out in front of you year-round, not just during hunting season. There is a hunting reserve right alongside the highway near me and borders the backside of my property, and I believe there is a hole in the fencing somewhere, because the deer from the property are crossing the highway and showing up in my yard everyday destroying my yard. I've asked the owner to kindly remove his deer before I declare hunting season myself.

@Big Al From Oz,
Kangaroos can make a mighty mess of your windscreen as they hop in front of a vehicle. Then again a Camel could be a disaster(Bit like hitting a Moose)

@Robert Ryan
We have mainly wallabies up here and a few reds. The reds can get a couple of metres tall. I don't want to hit one of them.

Down south more they have camels, but in the Top End we have water buffalo. Unless you are driving a road train the buffalo will write off most vehicles.

And emus go through your windscreen (windshield) and can kill the occupants inside the vehicle.

We try and avoid driving near sunset and dawn. I've already hit 3 wallabies this year.

I have heard of wombats ripping the front ends out of cars in the southeast of Australia. They sit low and are like hitting a rock.

@Big Al from Oz, Robert Ryan - regardless where you live there is a risk of hitting wildlife.

Deer-vehicle collisions are three times more likely to occur in November than they are on any day between Feb. 1 and Aug. 31. While more than 18 percent of all these collisions take place during November, October isn’t far behind, followed by December.

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