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How likely are you to have an animal collision?

What can you do to try to avoid hitting animals when driving on highways and roads?

As fog cleared off the river, two deer bounded into the tall grass near the road. It’s not an uncommon sight for many drivers, especially in October, November, and December. New data shows U.S. drivers on the average have a 1 in 116 chance of a collision with an animal, according to the State Farm® annual study. The company estimates there were over 1.9 million animal collision insurance claims in the U.S. between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

Where are animal collisions most likely?

West Virginia continues to top the list of states where an individual driver is most likely to run into an animal, with a likelihood of one in 38.

Montana (one in 48 chance of a crash), Pennsylvania (one in 52 chance of a crash), and South Dakota (one in 54) are at the top of the list. Rounding out the top 10 states where drivers are most likely to collide with an animal are Iowa, Wyoming, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, and Mississippi. The months drivers are most likely to collide with a large animal in the U.S. are (in order) November, October, and December.

Click on any state for more information or skip to table of States

High Risk States

Medium Risk States

Low Risk States

State Name Percent Change
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Medium RiskCategory header for Medium Risk States
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How can you avoid deer (and other animals) in your headlights?

The growing deer and other animal populations combined with the displacement of animal habitats are making it more dangerous on the road, and making driver crashes more likely.

There may be no real way to keep animals off the road, but these important safety tips can help prevent animal-car collisions.

Tips to avoid animals in the road

  • Stay alert. Pay attention to "deer crossing" and “wildlife crossing” signs and be cautious in areas near woods or water.
  • Use high beams. Flicking your high beams on an animal in the road may cause the animal to scurry away. High beams also help illuminate dark roads.
  • Don't swerve. If a car crash is inevitable, maintain control of your vehicle and don’t veer off the road.
  • Brake as necessary. If you can avoid hitting the animal, reduce your speed, honk your horn, and tap your brakes to warn other drivers. If there are no drivers behind you, brake hard.
  • Remember peak season. Animal collisions happen most during October through December, which is hunting and mating season.
  • Remember meal time. Watch for animals in the road between dusk and dawn.
  • Watch for herds. If you see one deer, there are probably more nearby.
  • Don't use a whistle. No scientific evidence supports that car-mounted deer whistles work.
  • Wear seat belts. Always obey speed limits and wear seat belts.

Did you know that an animal collision may be covered by comprehensive coverage? Contact your State Farm agent to learn more about comprehensive coverage.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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