U.S. drivers have a 1 in 116 chance of a collision with an animal, according to State Farm’s annual study. Drivers in West Virginia have the greatest risk of hitting an animal at 1 in 37.

Iowa’s risk is 1 in 59, the tenth highest in the nation. That number has increased since 2018 when there was a 1 in 73 chance of hitting an animal.  In 2020, there was an estimated 445,000 deer within the boundaries of the Hawkeye State.

In Hawaii, the odds are 1 in 649, making it the lowest risk state for animal collisions.

According to Consumer Reports,  Insurance claims for collisions with animals rise significantly in the fall when deer are mating, with November having the highest claim frequency.

Iowa DOT

Over the past 10 years, Texas had the highest number of deaths from collisions with animals. The numbers reflect the size of the driving population, animal population, and percentage of rural roads. From 2010-2019, a total of 24 Iowans died in a motor vehicle crash with an animal, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

In 2020, Iowans were involved in 7,276 crashes with animals on roadways, resulting in four fatalities and 25 major injuries.

How to Avoid Hitting a Deer

Slow down. Watch for deer especially around dawn and between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., when they’re most active.

Be aware. Look out for deer-crossing signs and wooded areas where animals are likely to travel. If you travel the same route to and from work every day, you may find deer consistently grazing in the same fields. Make a mental note of when and where you regularly see the animals.

Be alert. If you see an animal on the side of the road, slow down. At night when traffic permits, put on your high beams for improved visibility.

Brake, don’t swerve. Swerving to avoid an animal can put you at risk for hitting another vehicle or losing control of your car. It can also confuse the animal as to which way to go.

Assume they have friends. “Where there’s one, there are usually more” often holds true. Deer travel in groups, so if you see one run across the road, expect others to follow.

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