JACKSON, Miss. – When it comes to deer collisions, the state of Mississippi has migrated in the opposite direction from the rest of the nation. 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 Mississippi motorist striking a deer over the next 12 months at 1 in 84, compared with 1 in 120 the year before. From July 2012 to June 2013 there were an estimated 22,850 deer-vehicle collisions in the state of Mississippi.
Nationally, the odds that an individual driver in the United States will crash into a deer during the next year have declined by 4.3 percent. “It’s hard to pinpoint why Mississippi drivers are seeing an increase in deer collisions,” says State Farm spokesman Roszell Gadson. “We hope this information will make drivers more aware of the possibility of hitting a deer,” he says.
For the seventh year in a row, deer-vehicle confrontations are most probable in West Virginia. The chances of any single licensed driver in that state hitting a deer between now and a year from now are 1 in 41. The state in which deer-vehicle mishaps are least likely is still Hawaii (1 in 6,787).
WHEN DO DEER-VEHICLE COLLISIONS OCCUR?
State Farm’s data shows that November, the heart of the deer hunting and mating seasons, is the month during which deer-vehicle encounters are most likely. Approximately 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 1st and August 31st. 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 2012 and the first half of 2013 was $3,414, up 3.3 percent from the year before.
AVOIDING DEER-VEHICLE MISHAPS
Here are tips from the Insurance Information Institute on how to reduce the odds of a deer-vehicle confrontation:
- 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.