Insurer ranks state 8th in vehicle-deer collisions
By: By Joe Taschler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Superior Telegram
Wisconsin ranks eighth in the U.S. for the likelihood of drivers crashing vehicles into deer, State Farm Insurance said Monday.
The likelihood of a Wisconsin motorist striking a deer is 1 in 116, Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm said in a statement.
West Virginia was the top-ranked state with the chances of striking a deer there at 1 in 39. Michigan was second at 1 in 78. The average for the United States is 1 in 208, according to the State Farm analysis.
Using its claims data, State Farm estimates 2.4 million collisions between deer and vehicles occurred in the U.S. between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2009. That's 100,000 per month and 18.3% more than five years earlier. That's roughly equal to a vehicle-deer crash occurring every 26 seconds. And those crashes are much more likely this time of year as the animal's annual mating season begins.
State Farm ranks second in private passenger car insurance in Wisconsin, with 12.9% of the market, according to the state Insurance Commissioner's Office. Madison-based American Family is No. 1, with 22.5% of the market.
According to a Wisconsin Department of Transportation 2008 report on vehicle-deer crashes, deer are the third most commonly struck object in state traffic crashes, behind collisions with another vehicle or a fixed object.
Wisconsin law enforcement agencies reported 15,821 deer vs. vehicle crashes last year.
Dane County had the most motor vehicle vs. deer crashes reported in 2008 with 837. Waukesha County had the second most with 683 followed by Shawano and St. Croix counties each with 575. In Green Lake County, more than half of all reported crashes in 2008 involved deer.
The state in which deer-vehicle collisions are least likely is Hawaii where the odds are 1 in 9,931, according to the State Farm analysis.
Here are tips, according to State Farm, on how to reduce the chances of being involved in a deer-vehicle collision:
--Be aware of posted deer crossing signs. These are placed in active deer crossing areas.
--Remember that deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m.
--Use high beam headlamps as much as possible at night to illuminate the areas from which deer will enter roadways.
--Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds. If you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby.
--If a deer collision seems inevitable, attempting to swerve out of the way could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.
-- Copyright (c) 2009, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.