You are more likely to hit a deer in Iowa than in most other states — but you probably already knew that.
New claims data from State Farm Insurance show that Iowans have a 1 in 68 chance of hitting a deer in 2016, higher than national odds of 1 in 164.
Iowa's odds aren't good, but it could be worse. Iowa ranks No. 4 on the list of top five states a driver was most likely to have a claim from a collision with a deer, elk or moose.
Which state is No. 1? West Virginia with a 1 in 41 chance, followed by Montana (1 in 58), Pennsylvania (1 in 67) and then Iowa. South Dakota rounds out the top five with 1 in 70 odds. Compared to last year, Iowa has slipped one spot on the list and deer-driver collisions are 1.4 percent less likely.
Your chances of hitting a deer will increase in the coming months due to mating season. October, November and December are the months drivers are most at risk for collision — so be alert, because it will cost you. The national average cost per claim for 2015-16 was $3,995.08, according to State Farm.
Hitting deer can also be dangerous. Reporting by the Register earlier this year revealed 69,603 crashes, 4,179 injuries and 59 deaths were due to deer run-ins in the past decade. In the past five years, 14 people died on Iowa roads from deer-related crashes, an average of 2.8 deaths annually.
Tips to avoid a deer collision:
- Slow down, particularly at dusk and dawn.
- If you see one deer, be prepared for more deer to cross the road.
- Pay attention to deer crossing signs.
- Always buckle up, every trip, every time.
- Use your high beams to see farther, except when there is oncoming traffic.
- Brake if you can, but avoid swerving, which could result in a more severe crash.
- Remain focused on the road, scanning for hazards, including animals.
- Avoid distractions, like devices or eating, which might cause you to miss seeing an animal.
- Do not rely on products such as deer whistles, which are not proven to be effective.
- If riding a motorcycle, always wear protective gear and keep focused on the road ahead