Illinois drivers face slight increase in likelihood of deer collisions


ILLINOIS — It’s October, and officially Fall.  Did you know that the odds of hitting a deer while driving more than doubles during October, November and December when deer collisions are most prevalent? 

For the 16th year, State Farm® has produced an annual deer collision report and there are some really compelling Illinois numbers of interest:

Illinois drivers have a slight increase in likelihood of hitting a deer compared to a year ago. Chances of hitting a deer in Illinois have increased to 1 in 200, up from the 1 in 204 chance in 2017.

In regards to state rankings, Illinois remains in the middle of the pack at #32 (same ranking as 2017).

It is estimated that a little over 42,600 claims from hitting a deer were handled in Illinois over the past year, an increase of about 1,200 claims compared to 2017.

Nationally, your odds of needing to file an insurance claim from hitting a deer, elk or moose went down slightly compared to last year’s estimates.  You have a 1 out of 167 chance nationally, but that likelihood more than doubles during October, November and December, when collisions with those animals are most prevalent. Here are some national statistics of interest:

For the 12th year in a row, West Virginia tops the list of states where a collision is most likely, followed by Montana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Hawaii was at the bottom of the list for the 12th year in a row as well.

These crashes can be costly for drivers, with a national average cost per claim of $4,341.85 (an increase of about $200 compared to 2017).

Safety tips

Remember the following safety tips to avoid deer collisions: 

Stay alert and keep your eyes up.

Avoid distractions, which could cause you to miss seeing a large animal or other object in your path. 

Be especially vigilant during peak season.

Use headlights smartly.  Use high-beams at night when possible to illuminate the road’s edges. 

Watch out at mealtime. Between dusk and dawn animals usually venture out to eat. 

Brake as necessary. If you think you have time to avoid hitting the animal, reduce speed, tap the brakes to warn drivers behind you, and sound your horn. If there’s no vehicle close behind you, brake hard.

Don’t swerve. If a collision seems inevitable, don’t veer off to avoid the animal. Don’t risk putting yourself in a worse situation. 

Always obey speed limits and wear seat belts

If you hit a deer move your vehicle to a safe location, then position yourself and any other people involved in the crash in a safe location until help arrives. 

Never approach an injured animal. A hurt, scared animal poses serious threats to people. 

Report the crash if you have one. Contact police and your insurance company, providing as much detail as possible, including photos if you can.


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