Vehicle collisions with animals are a relatively frequent occurrence in the United States. Statistics provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety outline the history of how many collisions resulted in driver and passenger deaths. The most deaths occurred in 2007 when 223 people died. The most recent totals come in 2016, when 189 people died. When looking at the state level, Texas has the lead by far. From 2007-2016, 187 deaths occurred as a result of a collision with an animal. Wisconsin followed in second with 123 deaths, followed by Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio (Source).
The most common animal involved in a vehicle collision is a deer. According to State Farm insurance, one out of every 164 drivers in the United States will be involved in an accident with deer. For New York, it is one of every 161 (Source). Most collisions occur in October, November, and December (Source).
To avoid becoming another statistic, there are certain steps that can be taken as a driver in a location with a high deer population. If one sees a deer while driving, it is best to slow down, as there are likely to be others along the road. While it may, in theory, make sense to attempt to avoid a deer collision by turning and breaking, this may lead to a loss of control of your vehicle. Damage sustained by hitting a guardrail, rolling over, or colliding with another vehicle could be worse than just hitting the deer. The unpleasant truth is a head-on deer collision usually results in the least possible damage to you, your vehicle, and other drivers.
An important note is that vehicle owners must have comprehensive coverage in their insurance in order to cover the damage costs (Source). The average claim cost approximates to $4,000.00 (State Farm). Damage that can be fixed at an auto body shop may include body repair, engine repair, frame straightening, and painting. With over 1.5 million deer collisions in 2016 (Source), auto body shops across the United States will certainly be busy this fall and winter.