Deer-Vehicle Collision Likelihood Down in Ohio, but Drivers Should Still be Cautious as November Most Common Month for Crashes

November 2, 2018

Contact:
Kari Fox, Director of Communications
karif@ohioinsurance.org | 614.228.1593

Deer-Vehicle Collision Likelihood Down in Ohio, but Drivers Should Still be Cautious as November Most Common Month for Crashes

Ohio drivers had a 1 in 134 likelihood of having a collision with a deer from July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018, according to Ohio Insurance Institute member, State Farm’s most recent annual deer-vehicle collision study.

Despite an increase in licensed drivers, the percentage change in deer collision likelihood is down 4.7 percent from the previous year (1 in 128 likelihood), but drivers should still be cautious this  time of year as November is the worst month for crashes—both nationally and in Ohio.

“Along with November being the most common month for deer-vehicle collisions, distracted driving is also on the rise overall,” said Dean Fadel, president of Ohio Insurance Institute. “That’s a dangerous combination, so it’s especially important for drivers to be focused and alert while on the road this time of year.”

Ohio ranked #20 in deer collision likelihood nationally, compared to #22 the previous year. The study also stated that in Ohio there were 7,974,951 licensed drivers, which is 51,512 more than the previous year. The estimated industry claims count in Ohio was 59,396, which is 2,525 less than the previous year.

“Deer can appear suddenly and without warning, and while it may be a driver’s first instinct to swerve to avoid colliding with a deer, swerving can result in a vehicle moving into oncoming traffic, crashing into a tree, or evening rolling over,” said Fadel. “The safest thing to do is slow down as much as possible and let your vehicle strike the deer if necessary, especially if there is on-coming traffic in the other lane. Some recommend if you’re driving a larger vehicle, like a sedan, you should hit the deer without stepping on the brakes. Slamming the brakes might be a natural reaction, but it will cause the front end of the vehicle to sink lower to the ground. In a sedan, this increases the likelihood that a deer will crash through the windshield.”

According to Ohio Department of Public Safety, in 2017 there were more than 18,000 deer-vehicle collisions resulting in seven deaths and 804 injuries.

“Drivers are urged to be cautious, especially in areas where deer are known to cross as they travel to and from their feeding and bedding areas,” said John Windau, Wildlife Communications Manager for Ohio Department of National Resources Division of Wildlife. “Deer usually travel in groups this time of year, so if you see one, slow down and be prepared for other deer.”

The top five states where deer collisions are most likely are West Virginia, Montana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Iowa, respectively.

According to State Farm, the chance of hitting a deer, or other large animal, doubles in the fall. Following November, the months with the most claims are October and December, in that order. There is also an increased risk of collision with deer around dawn and dusk. Drivers should be engaged, alert and on the lookout at all times. You never know when you may need to react to a deer or other obstacle that may cross your travel path.

No matter where you live, or what time of day you are driving, it’s important to remain alert. Keep your eyes up and focused on the road. This helps you take action in the event a deer is suddenly in your path. Other tips to help keep drivers safe include:

  • 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. This can result in a more severe crash.
  • Remain focused on the road. Scan for hazards, including animals.
  • Avoid distractions. Devices or eating might cause you to miss seeing an animal.
  • Do not rely on products such as deer whistles. They are not proven effective.
  • If riding a motorcycle, always wear protective gear. Keep focus on the road ahead.

The Ohio Insurance Institute is a member-run trade organization comprised of property and casualty insurance companies and related organizations throughout the state of Ohio. Its primary objective is to help Ohioans achieve a better understanding of insurance and safety issues. OII’s member companies represent more than 87% of Ohio’s private passenger auto insurance market, nearly 83% of the homeowners market, and more than 44% of the commercial market.