The fall season is expected to bring the highest number of vehicular deer collision in Illinois.
State Farm Insurance is out with its 16th annual deer collision report and ranks Illinois right in the middle of states for the number of deer accidents. The odds of hitting a deer in Illinois increased this year, but only slightly.
Bill Ecker, a State Farm Insurance Agent in Marion, said that chances of hitting a deer double in the fall.
“Deer start the rut, we’re in the mating season,” Ecker said. “Deer are being pursued or are being the pursuers and they’re not watching traffic at all.”
State Farm ranks Illinois 32nd in the country and considers it a medium risk state for deer collisions. West Virginia ranks highest with a one in 46 chance of hitting a deer. Hawaii comes in last with deer-vehicle collisions being rare there and the odds being one in 6,379.
Ecker stated that the odds of hitting a deer in Illinois are still relatively low.
“Here in Illinois, we have a one in 200 chance of hitting a deer,” Ecker said. “So comparably, you have a one in 563 chance of catching a ball at a major league ballgame.”
Nationwide, one in 167 drivers were likely to hit a deer, elk or moose.
Ecker has been teaching drivers to brake and not swerve to try to miss an animal.
“Hitting a deer is covered under comprehensive,” he said. “If you swerve to miss the deer, which you’re not supposed to do, and you miss the deer but hit the guardrail or hit the trees, that would be covered under collision coverage.”
Braking is actually safer because swerving to avoid an animal and then hitting another car could cause an even worse accident, Ecker said.
“We just talk with them about gripping the wheel firmly and braking and not swerving to avoid,” he said. “And if you need to hit the animal, hit the animal because it is covered under comprehensive.”