Blog: The Dear Deer Cost Of Motoring
Some statistics released in the USA this week caught the eye. The data - released by State Farm Insurance - relate to the massive number of collisions between motorists and deer in the States.
Astonishingly, the last 12 months saw over 1.2 million car-deer collisions, resulting in about 200 human fatalities and thousands of injuries. Of the 200 deaths, 60% involved drivers who were not wearing seatbelts, perhaps pointing to a bigger issue in American motoring safety.
And it's not just the human cost that adds up. At an estimated $3,400 repair bill per accident, the garage bill arising from these collisions tops $4 billion!
Some other facts and figures also caught the eye.
US motorists have, on average, a 1 in 174 chance of hitting a deer each year. That's more than a 0.5% chance, or approximately 6 times greater than the chance of getting four numbers matched on your UK lottery ticket.
The unlucky motorists of West Virginia, however, have a 1 in 41 chance of a deer strike. Not for nothing is West Virginia known as the Mountain State, with its dense forests and winding roads combining to produce a lot of deer and bad driving visibility. And that 1 in 41 chance is greater than the chance of matching 3 numbers on a Saturday night!
The data also reveals the safest state in terms of deer collisions. No surprise perhaps that the drivers of Hawaii only have a 1 in 6,700 chance of hitting a deer - a rare species on the island.
Turning our attentions to the UK, some Googling quickly reveals that deer strikes are not a strictly US phenomenon. It's estimated that between 40,000 and 70,000 deer are hit by cars in the UK each year, mainly (naturally) in more heavily wooded areas. These are responsible for causing about 450 human injuries and between 5 and 10 deaths.
There's some straightforward advice to help reduce the chances of accidents of this nature. This includes slowing down in forested areas with deer warnings; taking particular care in early autumn evenings; using full beam headlights when safe to do so; and not swerving to avoid animals as this often results in a greater loss of control.
Finally, what's the insurer's view? Well, any fully comprehensive car insurance policy should cover the cost of any damage incurred from animal strikes. Don't forget, however, to inform the police of any significant incidents so that they can arrange help for any wounded animals.
Drive safely this autumn!