Beware of deer: tips to avoid collisions, help prevent costly repairs

Officials reports spike in deer activity in June
Beware of deer: tips to avoid collisions, help prevent costly repairs

The month of June typically comes with a spike in deer activity, and safety officials with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation are asking motorists, especially motorcyclists, to be extra alert.

Deer activity increases in June as females search for places to give birth and young deer separate from their mothers. While crashes between deer and motor vehicles tend to peak in the fall, June is typically when motorists are most likely to be injured in a deer/vehicle crash.

According to the the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), more than 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions happen each year in the U.S., resulting in approximately $1 billion in vehicle damage.

A new study by State Farm Insurance underscores the danger in certain states, showing that its claims are up 21 percent over the last five years, even though the miles driven by motorists are up by only 2 percent.

Clearly, these impacts can be fatal to the animals, but the most recent data available from IIHS shows that 186 people were killed in crashes involving animals in 2015.

Wisconsin law enforcement agencies reported 20,482 deer/motor vehicle crashes last year. Dane County had the most, with 959, followed by Waukesha County with 869 and Manitowoc County with 788. In five counties, more than half of all crashes reported in 2017 involved deer: Green Lake, Kewaunee, Lafayette, Oconto, and Shawno. You can see a county-by-county breakdown of deer/vehicle crashes by county on the WisDOT website.

More information on this topic can be found on the WisDOT website.

State Farm’s annual deer claim study reveals a consistent roster of the 10 states with the most collisions, and the latest figures show that there is increased chance of deer-vehicle collisions in those locations.

Top States for Deer Collisions*

West Virginia
South Dakota
North Dakota

*According to State Farm.

The map below shows the state-by-state likelihood of an impact; Montana drivers are the most likely, with a 1 in 57 chance of a collision this year. At the other end of the spectrum, Hawaii drivers have just a 1 in 6,832 chance of striking a large animal. Wisconsin drivers are at the higher end of the spectrum, with a 1 in 72 chance of hitting a deer this year.

If you hit an animal, move your car safely off the road and call police or animal control. State Farms says you should not attempt to touch an injured animal. Simply photograph the scene, then call your insurance company when you get home. Animal collisions are usually covered in your policy.