Drivers, watch out; the most dangerous months for animal collisions are November, October, and December. - Photo via Unsplash.com/Donnie Rosie

Drivers, watch out; the most dangerous months for animal collisions are November, October, and December.

Photo via Unsplash.com/Donnie Rosie

During the recent 12-month period between July of 2020 and June of 2021, drivers across the nation struck an animal in the road an estimated 2.1 million times — a 7.2% increase over the previous 12 months, according to an annual analysis by State Farm.

More than half of the time the animal being hit was a deer — an estimated 1.4 million — followed by “unidentified animals” (189,715), rodents (110,976), dogs (92,924), and raccoons (58,020).

Now is a good time to remind your fleet drivers to be extra vigilant about encountering animals running into the road as the most dangerous months for animal collisions are November, October, and December, in that order.

Pennsylvania is the top state for animal collisions, with 166,404 estimated auto insurance claims filed for the entire industry. Others that rank among the top five include Michigan (132,387), Texas (131,373), California, where the claims number involving animals (104,767) exploded by a 65% compared to the previous 12-month period, and North Carolina (98,409).

Interestingly, looking at the likelihood that drivers have of hitting an animal renders a different ranking: It turns out that West Virginia leads the nation in this type of risk (1 in 37 chance); followed by Montana, where the chances of hitting an animal (1 in 39) grew 17% since the previous period; South Dakota (1 in 48); and Michigan and Pennsylvania (both, with 1 in 54 chance).

State farm notes that the two types of state rankings differ because for the likelihood of animal collisions ranking, both the number of licensed drivers and the total number of animal collisions in each state affect the calculation, while for the claims ranking, only the estimated number of industry claims matters.

Here are some tips to share with your fleet about how to avoid striking an animal while behind the wheel:

  • Reduce distractions. Put the cell phone away and don't fiddle with the radio.
  • Slow down, especially if you see an animal close to the road.
  • Stay alert. Scan the road for animals day and night, both in the countryside and in the city.
  • Pay attention to “deer crossing” and other animal signs. They are there for a reason.
  • Be aware of peak season. Deer crashes happen most often during October through December, which is hunting and mating season.
  • Be mindful of mealtime. Watch for animals on the road between dusk and dawn.
  • Watch for herds. If you see one deer, there are probably more nearby.
  • Use high beams. Flicking your high beams on a deer may cause the animal to scurry away.
  • If you can’t avoid hitting the animal, brake as necessary, maintain control of your vehicle and don't veer off the road.
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