ACROSS MINNESOTA – Your chances of hitting a deer or other animal while driving on a U.S. highway have jumped over 7% in the past year, according to State Farm in its 19th Annual Animal Collision Study released this week. .
Motorists collided with animals about 2.1 million times between July 2020 and June 2021, according to the analysis. Accidents have occurred in all states and peaked in October, November and December.
Historically, November has been the most dangerous month for collisions with deer and other animals, according to State Farm.
Where you live also plays a big role in how likely you are to drive your car against a deer or other animal.
In the 12 months State Farm examined, motorists in Minnesota had a 1 in 58 chance of colliding with an animal. This places Minnesota in the top five for highest rates in the country.
State rankings are determined by taking the number of drivers allowed in a state and comparing it to the total number of animal collisions there, according to State Farm.
The company also ranked the states based on the number of collisions involving animals for which an insurance claim has been filed.
The state with the most insurance claims was Pennsylvania, where motorists filed approximately 166,404 auto insurance claims involving collisions with animals. Michigan came in second, followed by Texas and California, where the number of claims rose 65% from July 2020 to June 2021. North Dakota rounds out the top five.
When considering the odds of hitting a deer or other animal, West Virginia took the top spot with a 1 in 37 chance, followed by Montana, where the odds of hitting an animal were 1 in 39, or a 17% increase over the previous one. South Dakota was third with a one in 48 chance, followed by Michigan and Pennsylvania, both of which had a one in 54 chance.
Compare that to the District of Columbia, where it is estimated that fewer than 1,000 animal collisions took place during the recent 12-month period analyzed for the study. In the District, drivers have a 1 in 569 chance of hitting an animal.
What animals do we hit? Deer are reported the most often – about 1.4 million collisions have occurred with deer, according to State Farm. Then come more than 189,000 collisions with “unidentified animals”, followed by rodents, dogs and raccoons.
Although not in the top five, State Farm said, the range of other animals involved in the crashes is “extremely diverse.” The company’s claims database includes reports on chickens, alligators, bats, cows, pigs, armadillos, bears, donkeys, eagles, horses, coyotes, owls and cats.
State Farm also offered tips on how to avoid hitting deer, though these steps aren’t something you shouldn’t be taking already.
– Slow down, especially at dusk and dawn.
– If you see a deer, be prepared for other deer to cross the road.
– Watch out for deer crossing signs.
– Always buckle up, every trip, every time.
– Use your high beam headlights to see further, except in oncoming traffic.
– Brake if you can, but avoid swerving, which can lead to a more serious accident.
– Stay focused on the road. Look for potential dangers, including animals.
– Avoid distractions. Appliances or eating may prevent you from seeing an animal.
– Do not rely on products such as deer whistles. They are not proven to be effective.
– If you ride a motorcycle, always wear protective gear. Stay focused on the road ahead.