Odds are high that you'll hit a deer in Iowa this year

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

KING


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