New data from State Farm* Insurance show that wildlife collisions are on the rise.
U.S. drivers now have on average a 1 in 109 chance of an animal collision, with deer, raccoons, rodents, dogs, cattle, coyotes, and turkey topping the list. Between July 1, 2020, and 2021, over two million animal collision insurance claims were made in the U.S. at a time when people were driving fewer miles than they do now. That's almost 200,000 more wildlife insurance claims than the previous 12-month period. With peak deer season around the corner, it's more important than ever to anticipate deer, elk, moose, and more on Idaho and Montana roads especially. Take these 10 preventative measures:
10 Tips to Avoid Animal Strikes to Your Vehicle
- Stay alert: Pay attention to Deer Crossing, Cattle Crossing, and Wildlife Crossing signs - and be extra cautious near forests, woods, and water. Remember: lakes, rivers, and streams dominate Idaho's 5 northern counties with 140 lakes and nearly 2,000 miles of rivers and streams.
- Use high beam lights: Flicking your high beams on an animal on the road may cause the animal to scurry away. They also help illuminate dark roads.
- Don't swerve: If a crash is unavoidable, keep control of your car or truck and do not veer off the road.
- Brake and honk: If you can avoid striking the animal, slow down, honk your horn and tap your brakes to warn other drivers. If no one is behind you, brake hard.
- Remember DEERVEMBER: Animal collisions occur mostly in November, October, and December - in that order - which are hunting and mating seasons.
- Between dusk and dawn: Be extra careful between 6-9 pm and between dusk and dawn overall.
- Watch for herds: If you see one deer, you can bet there are at least 1-2 more not far behind. Once 1 jumps out, more are likely to follow.
- Throw out your wildlife whistle: There is no factual evidence that car-mounted deer whistles actually work. Use your old-fashioned senses!
- Enlist your front seat passenger: Ask passengers to be your extra eyes - looking side to side and far ahead - as camouflaged animals can jump out quickly with little warning.
- Always wear your seatbelts: Always obey the speed limits and consider going slower where you can. Wear seat belts to protect yourself against sudden impact.
Anderson's has already seen our fair share of turkey, deer, and elk accidents in summer 2022. While we specialize in wildlife damage repairs, it's both heartbreaking and costly. And, we see more cases every year due to growing people and deer populations combined with the displacement of natural animal habitats. All this makes driving crashes more likely, so we are ready to help should it happen to you.