Deer-Car Collisions Increase 18% in Last Five Years
That’s 2.4 million deer between July 2007 and June 2009, or a mashed-up deer and a damaged vehicle every 26 seconds. State Farm doesn’t speculate what’s behind the rise, but it doesn’t exactly take a Ph.D. to figure it out when you look at the explosion of the U.S. deer population. In the last 10 years the deer population has doubled to 25 million to 30 million animals, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park officials. A century ago the deer population was 500,000.
The largest increases in deer-vehicle collisions have come in New Jersey, Nebraska (54% increase in both states) and Kansas (41% for Jayhawk fans). The most dangerous state for hitting deer remains West Virginia where you have a 1-in-39 shot every year at hitting Bambi. Michigan comes in second at 1-in-78, while Hawaii is the safest place for deer and vehicles with only 1-in-9,931 odds.
The average cost of vehicle damage was $3,050; maybe the deer are getting tougher because that’s up 3.4% from just a year ago.
To avoid hitting a deer, State Farm recommends you actually pay attention to those deer crossing signs and slow down, and use your high-beams as much as possible when driving at night. Deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m., and if you see one there are probably others nearby. Also, do not rely on deer whistles. If you can't avoid hitting a deer, it’s better to stay on the road than swerve violently and risk losing control of your car.