Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Interesting report from State Farm: Your odds of hitting a deer, by state

For any driver who's ever nervously eyed the roadside for reflected eyes at night, State Farm has some interesting data. Overall, the insurer says, your odds of hitting a deer in the next year are 1 in 209. (The company helpfully includes a yardstick: your odds of being audited by the IRS are 1 in 100.)

But the rates (of deer collisions) vary dramatically by state. In Hawaii, good luck even finding a deer. The odds there are 1 in 10,962. (92 people apparently managed nonetheless.)

In West Virginia, however, you might want to install what the Australians call 'Roo Bars. The odds of hitting a deer there in any given year, State Farm says, are an astounding 1 in 45.

And here in Washington state? 1 in 516.

Here to help is Washington's Department of Transportation, which put up a very good blog post detailing why the deer tend to come out of the woods at this time of year and what do do when speeding toward them. The short form: watch for brake lights or slow-moving cars ahead, know that where you see one deer there are often more close by, and, if a collision is imminent, try to drive straight and not swerve.

And if you really love stats, here, also courtesy of WSDOT's blog, is the mother lode of deer/car data in Washington.

(And yes, we know that's an elk in the photo. It's just what we had handy at the time.)

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