Drivers take heed: It’s the season for deer strikes

Drivers, take heed: It’s the season to be aware of a particular threat on the roads: Deer strikes.

State Farm has released its annual deer claim study, which ranks states by the chance drivers have of hitting a large animal, including deer, elk and moose.

On average, one of every 128 Ohio drivers will have an insurance claim for damage caused by a collision with a deer in 2017 — making it the 22nd highest state for deer collisions, State Farm said.

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The top ten states a driver was most likely to have a claim from a collision with a deer, elk or moose in the 2016-17 study are:

1. West Virginia 1 in 43 chance

2. Montana 1 in 57 chance

3. Pennsylvania 1 in 63 chance

4. Iowa 1 in 69 chance

5. Wisconsin 1 in 72 chance

6. South Dakota 1 in 73 chance

7. Minnesota 1 in 74 chance

8. Wyoming 1 in 79 chance

9. Michigan 1 in 85 chance

10. North Dakota 1 in 87 chance

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Deer mating season is right around the corner — and October, November and December are the worst months of the year for motor vehicle collisions with animals, according to AAA.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2015, there were 186 fatalities from collisions with animals across the country, AAA noted.

“Animal-vehicle collisions start to increase in October and peak in mid-November,” Cindy Antrican, AAA spokeswoman, said in a statement. “As the deer population grows and urbanization spreads into formerly rural areas, motorists need to be even more cautious and alert behind the wheel, especially at dawn and dusk, which can be the times for high levels of deer activity.”

In 2016, there were 18,439 deer crashes resulting in five fatalities, 833 injuries and more than 17,000 vehicles damaged on Ohio roads, according to the state.

Almost half of the injuries (366) and property damage (8,426) occurred during October to December, prime deer mating season.

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