Odds of hitting a deer in Nebraska increasing

State Farm Insurance Data

The odds drivers will hit a deer in Nebraska in the coming year are 1 in 132, above the national odds of 1 in 164. The new odds represent a more-than 8 percent hike over the previous year. Using its claims data and state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration, State Farm calculates the chances of motorists striking a deer over the next 12 months.

More State Farm deer collision facts:
• Nebraska ranks 21st in the country for the most potential deer collisions, up from 25th in 2015. State Farm estimates that from July 1, 2015 to July 30, 2016, there were more than 10,500 deer-vehicle encounters in Nebraska. That’s almost 900 more than in the previous year.
• Nationally, drivers are 3% more likely to collide with a deer, elk, or moose in the coming year compared to last year.
• The national average of cost per claim is nearly $4,000.
• The months a driver is most likely to experience a collision – due mostly to the deer mating season – are, in order: November, October, December.
• For the 10th year in a row, West Virginia tops the list of states where a collision is most likely with 1 in 41 odds. Hawaii rounds out the bottom of the list, also for the 10th year in a row, with 1 in almost 19,000 odds.

Top 5 States and Nebraska
Rank State ’16 Odds
 1 West Virginia 1 in 41
 2 Montana 1 in 58
 3 Pennsylvania 1 in 67
 4 Iowa 1 in 68
 5 South Dakota 1 in 70
21 Nebraska 1 in 132
What you can do:
• Use extra caution in known deer zones.

• Slow down – Give the animal time and room to move off the road – don’t try to outrun it. 

• Always wear your seatbelt - The IIHS reports that in a study of fatal animal crashes, 60 percent of people killed were not wearing a seatbelt.

• At night, use high beams to better illumine the roadway, but if you encounter deer, switch your headlights to low beam, so that the animals are not blinded and will move out of your way. 

• Dusk to dawn are high-risk times - Be especially attentive from sunset to midnight and during the hours shortly before or after sunrise. These are the highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions when deer are on the move and driver visibility is affected.

• Avoid swerving when you see a deer - Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Many serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars.

• Scan the road – Even if your car is not the first to collide with the deer, you are still at risk. Multiple deer crashes can occur when deer fly over the vehicle it collides with and lands on another car or when a deer collision causes a chain reaction where vehicles collide into the car that hit the deer.  Practice defensive driving tactics and be observant of your surroundings while driving.

• Devices not proven effective - Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer. These devices have not proven effective.

After-crash tips:
1. Move your vehicle to a safe place. If possible, pull over to the side of the road, and turn on your hazard lights.

2. Call the police. Alert law enforcement if the deer is blocking traffic and creating a threat for other drivers. A police report can also prove useful when filing your insurance claim.

3. Document the incident. Take photographs of the roadway, your surroundings, damage to your vehicle, and any injuries you or your passengers sustained. If witnesses stop, take down their account of what occurred, and ask for their contact information.

4. Stay away from the animal. A frightened, wounded deer could use its powerful legs and sharp hooves to harm you.

5. Contact your insurance agent. The sooner you report damage or injuries, the sooner your agent can file and process your claim.

6. Don’t assume your vehicle is safe to drive. Double-check that your car is safe to drive. Look for leaking fluid, loose parts, tire damage, broken lights, a hood that won’t latch and other safety hazards. If your vehicle seems unsafe in any way, call for a tow.