Illinois remains high in car-deer collisions

Staff Report

Illinois drivers are nearly 1.4 percent more likely to collide with a deer in the next 12 months than they were last year, according to new claims data from State Farm.  The odds drivers will hit a deer in Illinois the coming year are 1 in 211, compared to the national odds of 1 in 169.

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 any single American motorist striking a deer over the next 12 months state by state.

While Illinois motorists may see slightly more deer than last year,” Illinois DNR Deer Project Manager Tom Micetich said, “the numbers will be well below those observed during peak deer-vehicle collision years of the recent past.”

More 2014 State Farm deer collisions facts:

  • Illinois is ranked 31st in the country for the most deer collisions
  • The national cost per claim average is $3,888, up 13.9 percent in 2013, when the average was $3,414.
  • The months a driver is most likely to collide with a deer in Illinois, mostly due to mating and hunting seasons, are:
  1. November
  2. October
  3. June
  • For the eighth year in a row, West Virginia tops the list of states where a collision is most likely with1 in 39 odds. Hawaii rounds out the bottom of the list, also for the eighth year in a row, with 1 in 10,281 odds.

Though Illinois may not have as many deer collisions as West Virginia, these types of collisions still occur and State Farm encourages all drivers to be cautious and watch out for animals on the road. Wearing your seat belt and practicing defensive driving tactics could make a significant difference.

Injuries, vehicle damage and fatalities all can result from vehicle collisions with deer.  In 2012, 175 deaths were the result of collisions with animals, with deer being the animal most often struck, according to the Insurance Information Institute and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These tips could help drivers avoid a collision:

  • Use extra caution in known deer zones
  • Always wear your seatbelt
  • At night, when there is no oncoming traffic, use high beams
  • Scan the road for deer and other danger signs
  • When you see a deer slow down and avoid swerving
  • Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles

And here are some deer facts that all drivers should know:

  • Deer are on all roads
  • Deer are unpredictable
  • Deer often move in groups
  • Deer movement is most prevalent in the fall
  • Dusk and dawn are high risk times
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