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Michigan moves up in deer crash rankings

Fourth highest state for likelihood to hit a deer

 

It’s that time of year to look for deer. And in Michigan, your likelihood of bumper meeting antler has gone up according to State Farm. Using its claims data and state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration, State Farm, the nation’s leading auto insurer, calculates the chances of a Michigan motorist striking a deer over the next 12 months at 1 in 72, compared with 1 in 83 the year before. Michigan has moved up from fifth to fourth place. For the sixth year in a row, West Virginia tops the list of states where an individual driver is most likely to run into a deer, with those odds at 1 in 40.

The findings come after a recent report from the Michigan Deer Crash Coalition showing deer crashes in the Great Lakes state actually declined in 2011 from 2010 by about four percent. However, officials note that many crashes also go unreported, so actual crash numbers are much higher. The coalition reports the five counties with the most reported crashes were: Kent (1,750), Oakland (1,736), Jackson (1,536), Calhoun (1,429) and Montcalm (1,340).

When do deer-vehicle collisions occur?

State Farm’s data shows that November is the month during which deer-vehicle encounters are most likely. More than 18 percent of all such mishaps take place during the 30 days of November.

Deer-vehicle collisions are three times more likely to occur on a day in November than they are on any day between February 1 and August 31.  October is the second most likely month for a crash involving a deer and a vehicle. December is third.

The average property damage cost of these incidents during the final half of 2011 and the first half of 2012 was $3,305, up 4.4 percent from the year before.

According to the State Farm data, the state in which deer-vehicle mishaps are least likely is still Hawaii (1 in 6,801). The odds of a driver in Hawaii colliding with a deer between now and 12 months from now are approximately equal to the odds that any one person will be struck by lightning during his or her lifetime.

Counting U.S. deer-vehicle confrontations

The number of deer-related collisions in the U.S. has increased by 7.7 percent over the last year. This jump comes after a three-year period during which these collisions dropped 2.2 percent.

State Farm estimates 1.23 million collisions caused by the presence of deer occurred in the U.S. between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012.

Avoiding deer-vehicle mishaps

“State Farm has a long history of supporting auto safety,” said Mullen. “Calling attention to hazards like this one is part of our DNA.”

Here are tips from the Insurance Information Institute on how to reduce the odds of a deer-vehicle confrontation involving your vehicle becoming part of the story we tell next year:

Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds. If you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby.

Be aware of posted deer crossing signs. These are placed in active deer crossing areas.

Remember that deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m.

Use high beam headlamps as much as possible at night to illuminate the areas from which deer will enter roadways.

If a deer collision seems inevitable, attempting to swerve out of the way could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Don’t rely on car-mounted deer whistles.

 

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