An idea of just how much danger deer pose to drivers can be found in statistics just released by State Farm Insurance.
Drivers in Maryland have a one in 114 chance of striking a deer while driving. The odds are even worse for West Virginia, where the chances of a deer-car encounter are one in 40. For the sixth consecutive year, West Virginia leads the nation in the highest risk for a deer-vehicle collision.
State Farm said the average cost of repairing damage from a deer collision is $3,305, which is a 4.4 percent increase this year over last. The Insurance Information Institute, an industry group that has access to insurance claims information, estimated the cost of the collisions nationwide in 2009 at $4.6 billion.
Deer are move about more frequently during the fall mating season, increasing the risk to drivers.
The only strategy drivers can use is to be careful. The insurance company offers these tips to avoid a deer run-in:
• Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds, so if you see one, others are nearby.
• Pay attention to posted deer crossing signs. These are placed where deer have been found to be most active.
• Deer are most active between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
• Use high beam headlamps as much as possible to better illuminate the highway.
• If a deer crash seems inevitable, do not swerve out of the way, you could lose control of your vehicle and hit an oncoming car.