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Here’s How Likely It Is You’ll Hit A Deer In Illinois

Patch logo Patch 10/9/2018 Shannon Antinori
a deer looking at the camera © Provided by Planck, LLC, d/b/a Patch Media

ILLINOIS — The odds a driver in Illinois will hit a deer increased slightly in 2017, at odds with a nationwide decline. State Farm released the results of its 16th annual deer-vehicle collision study last week. Overall, American drivers were less likely — one in 167 — to experience a crash involving a deer, elk, moose or caribou.

In Illinois, the odds of having a deer-related crash were one in 200, good for a ranking of 32 in the country. In 2016, those odds were one in 204, 2.3 percent higher. State Farm designated Illinois as a medium-risk state

For the 12th consecutive year, West Virginia retained the top spot as most likely state in which to hit a deer, according to the study. One in 46 drivers in that state are involved in an insurance claim stemming from a deer crash, down three points from 2016. By comparison, the odds of being a twin are one in 90 and the odds of catching a baseball at an MLB game are just one in 563.

Montana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Iowa rounded out the top five states where deer collisions are most likely. Here’s the list of the top 10:

  1. West Virginia (one in 46)
  2. Montana (one in 57)
  3. Pennsylvania (one in 63)
  4. Wisconsin (one in 72)
  5. Iowa (one in 73)
  6. South Dakota (one in 75)
  7. Minnesota (one in 77)
  8. Michigan (one in 80)
  9. Wyoming (one in 88)
  10. Mississippi (one in 91)

On the flip side, it’s enormously rare to hit a deer in Hawaii. Just one in 6,379 drivers in that state were involved in a deer-related crash last year, the authors said. And that represented a 7 percent increase over 2016. Hawaii was the lowest risk in the country, followed by California, Nevada, Arizona, District of Columbia and Florida.

November, October and December are the months where most animal-involved crashes occur, the company noted, particularly around dawn and dusk.

“Drivers should be engaged, alert and on the lookout at all times,” the study said. “You never know when you may need to react to a deer or other obstacle that may cross your travel path.”

State Farm noted that while there was a decline in deer crashes, the average cost of property damage actually went up — something to be aware of since the odds of hitting an animal doubles in the Fall. The company estimated collisions fell slightly to 1.33 million nationwide between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, but that the national cost per insurance claim averaged $4,341 — $162 more than 2016. Eighty-seven percent of animal-strike claims involve the front of a vehicle, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The next most frequent impact point is to the driver side of the vehicle at 7 percent, followed by the passenger side at 5 percent.

The company also offered tips to avoid hitting deer, though they aren’t anything you shouldn’t already be doing.

  • 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 further, except when there is oncoming traffic.
  • Brake if you can, but avoid swerving. This 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 focus on the road ahead.

Are you covered?

Vehicle damage from an animal collision is covered under your auto policy's optional comprehensive coverage. This means that if you only have collision coverage or liability coverage, your insurance carrier likely doesn’t cover vehicle damage stemming from an animal collision. Reach out to your insurance carrier if you’re interested in adding comprehensive coverage to your policy.

When you file an accident claim that’s covered by your comprehensive coverage, you will still be on the hook to pay the deductible. Any costs after that — up to your policy limits — will be covered by the insurance company.

Patch national staffer Dan Hampton contributed to this report.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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