Drivers Should be Cautious as November Most Common Month for Crashes

Drivers Should be Cautious as November Most Common Month for Crashes

Drivers Should be Cautious as November Most Common Month for Crashes

Latest report shows Ohio drivers were more likely to have a vehicle-animal collision compared to prior year

Ohio drivers had a one in 102 likelihood of having a collision with an animal from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 according to a new report. Those odds are greater than the prior year’s report, which stated Ohio drivers had a one in 134 likelihood.

In the report, Ohio ranked #23 in animal vehicle collision likelihood nationally, compared to #20 the previous year. West Virginia continues to top the list of states where an individual driver is most likely to run into an animal, with a likelihood of one in 38. Montana (one in 48 chance of a crash), Pennsylvania (one in 52 chance of a crash), and South Dakota (one in 54) are at the top of the list. Rounding out the top 10 states where drivers are most likely to collide with an animal are Iowa, Wyoming, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, and Mississippi.

The report estimates there were over 1.9 million animal collision insurance claims in the U.S. between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019. According to the Ohio BMV, in 2018 there were 7,944,315 licensed drivers in Ohio, which is 21,392 more than the prior year.

The months drivers are most likely to collide with a large animal in the U.S. are (in order) November, October, and December. 

“Deer are more likely to move about during their mating season, which is at its peak in October, November, and December in Ohio. Deer travel between feeding and bedding areas while traversing the landscape. Drivers need to be alert to this change in animal behavior and stay focused while driving,” said Brian Banbury, spokesperson for the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Drivers are encouraged to always be on the lookout for animals while driving, but especially this month when odds of a vehicle-animal collision are the highest.

“While it may be a driver’s first instinct to swerve to avoid colliding with a deer, swerving can result in a vehicle moving into oncoming traffic, crashing into a tree, or rolling over. The safest thing to do is slow down and let your vehicle strike the deer if necessary, especially if there is on-coming traffic in the other lane,” said Dean Fadel, Ohio Insurance Institute president. “As always, drivers should also avoid distractions a much as possible by putting their phone away and out of reach. Deer can appear suddenly and drivers should have their full attention on driving so they are prepared to make a quick and safe reaction. If you are involved in a collision with a deer, move your vehicle to a safe place, call the police, document the incident, and contact your auto insurance provider.”

According to Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP), in 2018 there were 18,256 deer-vehicle collisions resulting in three fatalities. In 2019, so far there have been 12,589 deer-vehicle collisions resulting in four fatalities. Also according to OSHP, this year, so far the most common time of day for a deer-vehicle crash is between 6 a.m. and 6:59 a.m and the most common day of the week is Wednesday.

No matter where you live, or what time of day you are driving, it’s important to remain alert. Keep your eyes up and focused on the road. This helps you take action in the event a deer is suddenly in your path. Other tips from the report to help avoid animals in the road:

  • Stay alert. Pay attention to "deer crossing" and “wildlife crossing” signs and be cautious in areas near woods or water.
  • Use high beams. Flicking your high beams on an animal in the road may cause the animal to scurry away. High beams also help illuminate dark roads.
  • Don't swerve. If a car crash is inevitable, maintain control of your vehicle and don’t veer off the road.
  • Brake as necessary. If you can avoid hitting the animal, reduce your speed, honk your horn, and tap your brakes to warn other drivers. If there are no drivers behind you, brake hard.
  • Remember peak season. Animal collisions happen most during October through December, which is crop harvesting (when crops are coming off the landscape) and mating season.
  • Remember meal time. Watch for animals in the road between dusk and dawn.
  • Watch for herds. If you see one deer, there are probably more nearby.
  • Don't use a whistle. No scientific evidence supports that car-mounted deer whistles work.
  • Wear seat belts. Always obey speed limits and wear seat belts.


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