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Don't Veer for Deer! West Virginia is No. 1 in Nation for Animal Collisions Among Drivers

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It’s Fall and that means it’s prime season for animal collisions for drivers. According to a new State Farm® study, most animal-related crashes in the U.S. occur from October to December. While most collisions are with deer (67%), many other animals followed closely behind such as dogs, cats, farm animals, and large rodents.

One again, West Virginia Maine drivers rank No. 1 in the nation for animal collisions, including deer, dogs, and farm animals. West Virginia drivers have a 1 in 37 chance of colliding with an animal while driving. In 2019, State Farm had 7,721 auto claims for animal collisions in West Virginia.

Here is a quick recap of the study:

Top 10 Risk States:

1. West Virginia
2. Montana
3. Pennsylvania
4. South Dakota
5. Michigan
6. Wisconsin
7. Iowa
8. Mississippi
9. Minnesota
10. Wyoming

• COVID months, particularly March, saw a 20% decrease (more than 70,000 claims) in animal collisions due to less drivers being on the road.

• There were over 1.96 million animal collision claims this past year.

• U.S. drivers have a 1 in 116 chance of hitting an animal while driving.

• 67% (1.3 million claims) of collisions are with deer.

The months drivers are most likely to collide with an animal in the U.S. are, in this order:

1. November
2. October
3. December

Interesting pieces of State Farm data nationally:

​• November peak month​

• Thanksgiving travel

• 43,219 collisions with birds; 15,000 of those being turkeys

• Deer remains with 67% of all animals and more than 1.55 million collisions
• ​Farm animals: 33,007 (includes pig, hog, cow, goat, sheep, horse, donkey)
• The months of March, April, and May of 2020 (during COVID) had nearly 70,000 less animal collision claims than in 2019​

•Almost a 20% decrease from last year (March, April, May)​
• Pets (dogs and cats) combined for 102,051
• 21,000+ claims involving large wild animals (bears, elk, moose, caribou, ox, antelope, wild boar) ​​

Here are some Animal Collision Safety Tips:

• Use extra caution and slow-down in known animal crossing zones.

• Slow down. Reduce your vehicle’s speed and maintain a constant lookout for animals. Travel at a speed that will allow you to stop in time if an animal comes into the beam cast by your headlights

• Dusk to dawn are high-risk times; use high beams when appropriate.

• Scan the road and avoid swerving when you see an animal. Brake firmly when you notice an animal in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Many serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars.

• Always wear your seatbelt. Safety belts saved an estimated 114,955 lives in 2017.

After-crash tips:

Move your vehicle to a safe place: Pull to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights.
Call police: If an animal is blocking traffic and could be create a threat for other drivers.
Document: Take photographs of the road, your surroundings and damage.
Stay away from the animal: A frightened, wounded animal could use its legs and hooves to harm you. Do not attempt to move an animal.
Don’t assume your vehicle is safe to drive: Look for leaking fluid, loose parts, tire damage, broken lights and other hazard.
Contact your insurance company: Quickly file your insurance claim.

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