Published on Oct 17, 2013 by Edgar Snyder

PA Leads Nation in Number of Car Crashes Involving Deer

deer crossing sign

Western Pennsylvania's rolling hills, colorful trees, and brisk air set the scene for autumn, one of the most beautiful times of the year in our region. However, it can also be a very dangerous time of year as more deer are on the move.

From mid-October through mid-December, mating season drives thousands of deer into new territory and often, onto the roads. The season marks the peak time for deer-vehicle collisions in Pennsylvania, which accounted for more than $400 million in damages last year.

According to a new report by State Farm insurance, Pennsylvania had the most deer-vehicle accidents in the nation, with an estimated 115,000 such collisions last year. Michigan was in second-place, coming in with 77,000 collisions.

The odds of hitting a deer with your car are not reassuring. In Pennsylvania, one out of every 77 drivers are involved in a car accident involving deer, ranking the state as fifth in the nation for likelihood of getting into a crash. West Virginia remained at the top of that list this year, with a 1 in 41 chance.

In Pennsylvania, one out of every 77 drivers are involved in a car accident involving deer.

Nationwide, the probability of a driver hitting a deer has declined by 4.3%. However, that's no reason to relax. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that reportable deer-related crashes have increased from 4,109 in 2008 to 4,855 last year. In 2012 alone, 1,352 people were injured and 14 died.

Volunteer organizations and hunters help keep the deer population at bay, but drivers must remain cautious. If you're driving on PA roads this fall, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Slow down and be on the lookout for deer crossing, especially near wooded areas.
  • Take extra caution if driving at dawn or dusk.
  • If you see a deer, assume there are others nearby.
  • Hit your brakes, but don't swerve to avoid a deer. More serious injuries can occur if you hit oncoming traffic or a telephone pole.
“Report puts cost of car-deer crashes at $400 million in Pennsylvania.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 16, 2013.
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