More deer collisions are anticipated

Oklahoma drivers are slightly more likely to collide with a deer in the coming year than they were last year, according to new claims data from State Farm. The odds drivers will hit a deer in Oklahoma in the coming year are 1 in 194, below the national odds of 1 in 162.

Using its claims data and state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration, State Farm calculates the chances of motorists striking a deer over the next 12 months.

More deer collision facts:

  • Oklahoma has moved from No. 33 to No. 31 among states for the most potential deer collisions. It’s estimated 900 more deer were hit by a motor vehicle in the state than were hit in the previous year. In addition, there are about 170,000 more licensed drivers in Oklahoma.
  • The national average of cost per claim is $4,179, about a 4-1/2 percent increase over last year.
  • The months a driver is most likely to experience a collision – due mostly to the deer-mating season – are, in order: November, October, and December.
  • For the 11th year in a row, West Virginia tops the list of states where a collision is most likely with 1 in 43 odds. Hawaii rounds out the bottom of the list, also for the 11th year in a row, with 1 in 6,800 odds. Montana is No. 2, Pennsylvania is No. 3, Iowa is No. 4 and Wisconsin is No. 5.

Suggestions from State Farm:

  • Use extra caution in known deer zones.
  • Slow down – Give the animal time and room to move off the road – don’t try to outrun it. Always wear your seatbelt – Safety belts saved nearly 14,000 lives in 2015.
  • At night, use high beams to better illumine the roadway, but if you encounter deer, switch your headlights to low beam, so that the animals are not blinded and will move out of your way.
  • Dusk to dawn are high-risk times – Be especially attentive from sunset to midnight and during the hours shortly before or after sunrise. These are the highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions when deer are on the move and driver visibility is affected.
  • Avoid swerving when you see a deer – Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Many serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars.
  • Scan the road – Even if your car is not the first to collide with the deer, you are still at risk. Multiple deer crashes can occur when deer fly over the vehicle it collides with and lands on another car or when a deer collision causes a chain reaction where vehicles collide into the car that hit the deer. Practice defensive driving tactics and be observant of your surroundings while driving.