New State Farm® data reveals the likelihood of hitting an animal while driving in every state
November is still the most dangerous month with an industry-estimated 297,000 collisions.
New data released from State Farm pegs the odds of U.S. drivers hitting an animal at 1 in 127 this year. Drivers in West Virginia held on to the number one spot with the least favorable odds at 1 in 38. Montana (1 in 53), Pennsylvania (1 in 59), Michigan (1 in 60), Wisconsin (1 in 60) round out the top five most likely states to hit an animal while on the road.
As the largest insurer of cars in the U.S., State Farm estimates over 1.8 million auto insurance claims were filed across the industry from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 involving animal collisions. Pennsylvania had the highest number of claims out of all the states, with an estimated 153,397 claims for the same time period. Michigan is second in terms of highest claims counts with 133,636, followed by Texas (96,000), North Carolina (88,770) and Ohio (82,395).
Deer collisions once again led as the top animal struck, followed by rodents*, dogs, raccoons, and coyotes.
The most dangerous months for animal collisions are November, October, and December, in that order.
If you’re driving on a paved, rural road without much traffic and the sky is not quite dark, you are in the most common scenario to hit wildlife. Results from a State Farm Survey indicate between 30% and 50% of drivers had accidents during those conditions. Additionally, just one risky driving behavior, such as speeding or using your phone, increase the chance of an animal collision by 23%.
Here are some important tips to help avoid and/or handle an animal collision:
- Slow down, especially if you see an animal close to the road.
- Stay alert. Scan the road for animals at any time of the day or night.
- Pay attention to “deer crossing” and other animal signs.
- Reduce distractions. Put the cell phone away.
- Brake as necessary. If you can avoid hitting the animal, reduce your speed, honk your horn and tap your brakes to warn other drivers.
- Don't swerve. If a crash with an animal is inevitable, maintain control of your vehicle and don't veer off the road.
- Use high beams. Flicking your high beams on wildlife may cause the animal to scurry away.
- Be aware of peak season. Animal crashes, especially deer, happen most often during October through December, which is hunting and mating season.
- Watch for animals on the road between dusk and dawn.
- Watch for herds. If you see one deer, there are probably more nearby.
If despite all of this you hit an animal, take a deep breath. Make sure you and your passengers are well. Call 911 if the animal is large and still there after you hit it. Check if your vehicle is drivable. When safe to do so, take pictures and, if needed, you can file a claim in multiple ways.
Speak with your State Farm agent about comprehensive coverage, which typically covers repairs for collisions with animals, after your deductible.
*Rodents are not only involved in collisions, but included in claims data as an animal related loss for damage they cause to vehicles, like chewing wires.
For over 100 years, the mission of State Farm has been to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its more than 19,400 agents and 67,000 employees serve over 91 million policies and accounts – including auto, fire, life, health, commercial policies and financial services accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the 2023 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.