CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia drivers should watch out as they are at the most risk of hitting an animal in the nation.
According to new research from State Farm, while the average U.S. driver’s odds of hitting an animal is 1 in 127 in 2023, West Virginian drivers likelihood of hitting an animal are 1 in 38, the highest in the U.S. However, Pennsylvania had the highest number of claims (153,397) during the July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 period.
Topping the list of animal collisions is deer, but other common collisions include rodents, dogs, raccoons and coyotes.
“If you’re driving on a paved, rural road without much traffic and the sky is not quite dark, you are in the most common scenario to hit wildlife,” State Farm said.
Besides those conditions, behaviors like speeding or using your phone also increase your animal collision risk. The riskiest month is November, followed by October and December.
Tips for avoiding an animal-related crash include:
- Slow down, especially if you see an animal close to the road.
- Stay alert. Scan the road for animals at any time of the day or night, but especially between dusk and dawn.
- Pay attention to “deer crossing” and other animal signs.
- Reduce distractions. Put the cell phone away.
- Brake as necessary. If you can avoid hitting the animal, reduce your speed, honk your horn and tap your brakes to warn other drivers.
- Don’t swerve. If a crash with an animal is inevitable, maintain control of your vehicle and don’t veer off the road.
- Use high beams. Flicking your high beams on wildlife may cause the animal to scurry away.
- Be aware of peak season. Animal crashes, especially deer, happen most often during October through December, which is hunting and mating season.
- Watch for herds. If you see one deer, there are probably more nearby.
In the event of a collision, make sure you and any other occupants of the vehicle are okay and check if the vehicle is still drivable. If the animal is large and still there, call 911.