Your chances of hitting a deer or other animal while driving on a U.S. road jumped by more than 7 percent in the last year, State Farm found in its 19th annual animal collision study released this week.
Motorists collided with animals an estimated 2.1 million times between July 2020 and June 2021, according to the analysis. Crashes happened in every state and peaked in October, November, and December.
Historically, November is the most dangerous month for deer and other animal collisions, according to State Farm.
Where you live also plays an important role in how likely you are to drive your car into a deer or other animal.
In the 12 months examined by State Farm, Georgia motorists had a 1 in 83 chance of colliding with an animal. State Farm marks the Peach State as high risk, making it more likely to hit an animal while driving.
State rankings are determined by taking the number of licensed drivers in a state and comparing it to the total number of animal collisions there, according to State Farm. The company also ranked states based on the number of collisions involving animals where an insurance claim was filed.
Which animals are we hitting? Deer are reported most frequently — an estimated 1.4 million collisions were with deer, according to State Farm. Next on the list are more than 189,000 collisions with “unidentified animals,” followed by rodents, dogs and raccoons.
While not in the top five, State Farm said, the range of other animals involved in collisions is “extremely diverse.” The company’s claims database includes reports of chickens, alligators, bats, cows, pigs, armadillos, bears, donkeys, eagles, horses, coyotes, owls, and cats
Tips to avoid hitting deer:
- 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.
The same safe driving practices that are taught in A-1’s Defensive Driving Class can apply to be a safe driver in a car and on a motorcycle.