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Friday, October 06, 2017 1:00 am

Deer-car collisions go up in fall, study finds

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

Hoosier drivers have a 1-in-145 chance of hitting a deer, a study published by insurance company State Farm found. 

Indiana ranked 27th on State Farm's list of states where a driver was most likely to hit a deer. West Virginia drivers are the most at risk, with a 1-in-43 chance of striking a deer, elk or moose in 2017. Montana came in second – its drivers have a 1-in-57 chance of crashing into a large animal this year.

“The average cost for deer-vehicle claims has gone up nationwide to $4,179 from $3,995,” the study released Monday states. “The likelihood of colliding with a large animal more than doubles during the months of October, November and December, during deer mating season.” 

The study was performed using State Farm's claims data and state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016. 

State Farm offered tips for drivers who want to keep their vehicles deer-free this autumn:

• Slow down, particularly at dusk and dawn.

• If you see one deer, be prepared for more deer to cross the road.

• Pay attention to deer crossing signs.

• Always buckle up, every trip, every time.

• Use your high beams to see farther, except when there is oncoming traffic.

• Brake if you can, but avoid swerving, which could result in a more severe crash.

• Remain focused on the road, scanning for hazards, including animals.

• Avoid distractions, like devices or eating, which might cause you to miss seeing an animal.

• Do not rely on products such as deer whistles, which are not proven effective.

• If riding on a motorcycle, always wear protective gear and keep focus on the road ahead.

dgong@jg.net