D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has appeared on legaladvice.com, themanifest.com, and vice.com.

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jan 19, 2021

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Likelihood of collisions with deer, by state.
Likelihood of collisions with deer, by state. (pic by statefarm.com)

Autumn always brings changes. As some parts of nature prepare to end their cycle of life and growth, other parts are in the midst of breeding for the future. And deer are now embarking on their annual breeding and migration seasons (start in October and runs through the end of December), meaning there are more of them on our roadways.

Using a combination of their own policy claims histories and data from the Federal Highway Administration, auto insurer State Farm says that for the fourth year in a row, West Virginia tops when it comes to your chances for colliding with a deer. We’ll have some tips for avoiding collisions with deer, but first, here’s a look at the top 10 states, and the chances a driver there has of hitting a deer this year.

Top 10 States for Deer Collisions

  1. West Virginia: 1 in 42 chance of a deer collision.
  2. Iowa: 1 in 67 chance.
  3. Michigan: 1 in 70 chance.
  4. South Dakota: 1 in 76 chance.
  5. Montana: 1 in 82 chance.
  6. Pennsylvania: 1 in 85 chance.
  7. North Dakota: 1 in 91 chance.
  8. Wisconsin: 1 in 96 chance.
  9. Arkansas: 1 in 99 chance.
  10. Minnesota: 1 in 100 chance.

Avoiding Deer-Vehicle Collisions

There’s no doubt that we’re encroaching on the natural environment of deer. And their population has undergone a bit of a growth explosion, with numbers increasing each year.

Thus, it’s important for drivers to remain viligent and on the lookout for deer. Take these steps to avoid a collision with a deer:

  • Deer crossing signs are there for a reason. They mark active deer crossing areas.
  • Deer will be most active between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
  • High beam headlights will illuminate areas where deer enter roadways.
  • If you see one deer, you should expect others. Deer travel in herds.
  • Whistles that mount onto your car have never been proven to effectively repel deer. Don’t rely on them.

Finally, we’ll remind you that your safety comes first. If a collision with a deer appears to be unavoidable, remember that radical swerves could cause you to lose control of your car. Even worse, it could put you into the path of an oncoming vehicle, resulting in a more serious head on collision.