NORTH CAROLINA — Drivers in the United States have a 1 in 116 chance of striking a deer or other animal, State Farm found in its 18th annual deer-vehicle collision study released this week.
North Carolina is considered a high risk state for animal collisions. Drivers in North Carolina have a one in 75 chance of colliding with an animal on the road.
Sixty-seven percent of the more than 1.96 million animal collisions from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, involved deer, according to data from State Farm’s insurance records. Collisions involving dogs, cats, farm animals, large wild animals and large rodents were also included in the study.
West Virginia is the state with the greatest likelihood of animal collisions for the 14th year in a row, the study shows. There’s a 1 in 37 chance of a driver hitting a deer or other animal in the Mountaineer State. In 2019, State Farm had 7,721 auto claims for animal collisions in West Virginia.
Montana, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Mississippi, Minnesota and Wyoming were the other states in the top 10.
On the flip side, Hawaii is the state where it’s least likely for a driver to hit an animal, with a reported rate there of 1 in 642. California and Arizona are the second and third least-likely states for animal collisions.
The first three months of the coronavirus pandemic marked nearly a 20 percent decrease in animal collision insurance claims from the same period a year ago, State Farm found in the study. Most animal-related crashes in the United States occur in October, November and December, which is consistent with numbers from the study in previous years.
State Farm also offered tips to avoid hitting deer, although those steps aren't anything you shouldn't already be taking.
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, which can result in a more severe crash.
Remain focused on the road. Scan for potential dangers, 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 focused on the road ahead.