A new report claims the chances of a motorist in Iowa striking a deer within the next year is 1 in 67. The State Farm Insurance report shows Iowa is second to only West Virginia on the list of states where a driver is most likely to hit a deer.
Rick Barnes, a State Farm agent in the Des Moines area, says the average property damage cost of a deer-vehicle collision is more than $3,000. The crashes are also blamed for about 200 fatalities in the U.S. every year.
“Some of those definitely involve people swerving to avoid the animal,” Barnes said. “So, you’re best off not swerving. Chances are you’ll still hit (the deer)…but you probably have as good of a chance just staying in your lane of avoiding the deer and a much better chance of not getting hurt.”
Other tips for avoiding collisions with deer include watching for ‘deer crossing’ signs and using high beam headlights as much as possible to spot animals on the roadway. “And if you see one deer, you’re almost always going to see more,” Barnes said. “A lot of times the claims we see involve someone that said, ‘yeah, I saw the deer and then a bunch more came out’ and then (the crash) happened.”
The State Farm report is based on a combination of claims data and figures compiled by the Federal Highway Administration. Last year, Iowa ranked fourth on the list of states where a motorist is most likely to hit a deer. West Virginia has topped the list for four straight years.
Fall is considered the peak season for deer-car accidents.