Drivers are more likely to hit a deer in West Virginia than in any other state, according to State Farm.
The chance of hitting a deer in the state during a year is 1 in 40. Other states where deer-related crashes are most likely to occur are South Dakota, where the chance of hitting a deer in the next year is 1 in 68; Iowa (1 in 71.9); Michigan (1 in 72.4) and Pennsylvania (1 in 76).
West Virginia topped the list for the sixth year in a row, and the other four states were also in the top five last year. The likelihood of hitting a deer increased in each of the top five states.
The state where deer-vehicle collisions are least likely is Hawaii, where the odds of a driver hitting a deer are 1 in 6,801 -- roughly the same odds that a person will be struck by lightning during his or her lifetime, according to State Farm.
The insurer based its calculations on car insurance claims filed with the company during the second half of 2011 and the first half of 2012. It compared those numbers with state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration.
State Farm estimates 1.23 million deer-vehicle collisions occurred during the year-long period in the United States, up 7.7 percent over the previous year. The average property damage cost of deer-related crashes was $3,305, up 4.4 percent from the year before. Damage from the collisions are covered under comprehensive car insurance, which is an optional form of coverage.
State Farm offers the following tips for drivers:
- Deer travel in herds, so know that if you see one, others are probably nearby.
- Be especially alert in areas with posted deer-crossing signs.
- Remember that deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m. Deer-vehicle collisions can occur at any time of year but are most likely in October and November.
- Use high-beam headlights as much as possible at night.
- Keep in mind that if a collision is inevitable, swerving could cause you to lose control of the car and put you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.
- Don't rely on car-mounted deer whistles.
A U.S. map showing the likelihood of deer-vehicle collisions is available on the insurance company's website.