West Virginian drivers must watch out for deer more than other US motorists: they have a 1 in 42 chance of hitting a deer within the next year.
This is the fourth year West Virginia tops the State Farm study, that finds deer collisions are a serious issue in not only West Virginia, but across the country. State Farm says it “estimates 2.3 million collisions between deer and vehicles occurred in the U.S. during the two-year period between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2010. That’s 21.1 percent more than five years earlier. To put it another way, during your reading of this paragraph, a collision between a deer and vehicle will likely have taken place (they are much more likely during the last three months of the year and in the early evening).”
Iowa is the second state on the list; drivers have a one 1 in 67 chance of hitting a deer. Michigan, South Dakota and Montana follow. Motorists, however, in Hawaii are in luck. State farm says the likelihood of Hawaii residents hitting a deer is about the same as finding a pearl in an oyster shell.
Accidents result when people destroy deer habitats. Bloomberg spoke with Chris Ryan, supervisor of game management services at the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “We have more deer and a lot more people moving into their habitat,” Ryan explains. “We’re in a state where about 80 percent is forested land. There are a lot of curvy, windy roads going through deer habitats.”
Edmunds says these situations are most common in the fall and winter: “Collisions with deer are more frequent during their migration and mating season in October, November and December.”
What’s the best way to avoid an accident? Bloomberg says drivers must monitor for deer in their blind spots. State Farm also cautions drivers to watch out for deer crossing signs, keep in mind that if you see one deer, it’s likely that another is nearby and to use high beams to illuminate roads.