Holly Anderson, spokeswoman for Iowa’s largest auto insurer, State Farm, says the odds a driver will hit a deer in Iowa are one in 68, well above the national odds of one in 164. It’s expensive, too.
“The national cost per claim average is just under $4,000 and that is down slightly from last year,” Anderson says. “That could be from a number of factors. It could be people are hitting deer in different ways. They may be hitting the door instead of the engine.”
Conditions in Iowa have improved slightly, as drivers here are about 1.4 percent less likely to collide with a deer than they were last year. Also, last year Iowa was a notch higher on the car-deer crash list at third nationally. Deer are always a risk for motorists, but we’re heading into the worst season for collisions.
“The months that a driver is more likely to collide with a deer are: November, October and December,” Anderson says. “We know that dawn and dusk are high deer traffic times, especially if you’re driving near water or woods, so we really want drivers to be on the lookout during those times.” She suggests employing the policy of “Drive 2 and 2,” for two eyes on the road and two hands on the wheel.
Also, remember the phrase, “Don’t Veer for Deer.” “If you think you’re going to come in contact with a deer, it’s better to just push your brakes,” Anderson says. “A lot of times we see people do swerve and when you’re in that situation, there could be a tree on that side, there could be oncoming traffic coming your way. You don’t want to swerve. Make sure you’re not veering off to avoid the animal. Make sure you’re pushing your brakes instead.”
While Iowa ranked fourth, West Virginia tops the list of states where a deer collision is most likely for the tenth year in a row, followed by Montana at number two and Pennsylvania, third.