(847) 551-3000

The Chances Of Deer Collisions While Driving In Illinois

The Chances Of Deer Collisions While Driving In Illinois

  • Posted by Barrington Hills
  • On October 12, 2021

Most animal-involved crashes occur in the fall. A 2021 State Farm analysis breaks down the likelihood of hitting a deer in Illinois.


Your chances of hitting a deer or other animal while driving on a U.S. road jumped by more than 7 percent in the last year, State Farm found in its 19th annual animal collision study released this week.

Motorists collided with animals an estimated 2.1 million times between July 2020 and June 2021, according to the analysis. Crashes happened in every state and peaked in October, November and December.

Historically, November is the most dangerous month for deer and other animal collisions, according to State Farm.

Where you live also plays an important role in how likely you are to drive your car into a deer or other animal.

In the 12 months examined by State Farm, Illinois motorists had a 1 in 137 chance of hitting an animal, making Illinois a medium-risk state for such a collision. While Illinoisans face more danger than the lowest risk states — California, Washington and the desert Southwest — the risk is lower than any surrounding state.

So be careful when traveling through Missouri (1 in 74), Iowa (1 in 59), Wisconsin (1 in 56), Indiana (1 in 100) or Kentucky (1 in 88).

State rankings were determined by taking the number of licensed drivers in a state and comparing it to the total number of animal collisions there, according to State Farm.

The company also ranked states based on the number of collisions involving animals where an insurance claim was filed.

The state with the highest number of insurance claims was Pennsylvania, where motorists filed an estimated 166,404 auto insurance claims involving collisions with animals. Michigan came in second, followed by Texas and California, where the number of claims spiked by 65 percent from July 2020 to June 2021. Rounding out the top five was North Dakota.

When considering the likelihood of hitting a deer or other animal, West Virginia took the top spot with a 1 in 37 chance, followed by Montana, where the chance of hitting an animal was 1 in 39, a 17 percent increase from the previous year. South Dakota was third with a 1 in 48 chance, followed by Michigan and Pennsylvania, which both had a 1 in 54 chance.

Compare that to the District of Columbia, where it is estimated fewer than 1,000 animal collisions took place during the recent 12-month period analyzed for the study. In the District, drivers have a 1 in 569 chance of hitting an animal.

Which animals are we hitting? Deer are reported most frequently — an estimated 1.4 million collisions were with deer, according to State Farm. Next on the list are more than 189,000 collisions with “unidentified animals,” followed by rodents, dogs and raccoons.

While not in the top five, State Farm said, the range of other animals involved in collisions is “extremely diverse.” The company’s claims database includes reports of chickens, alligators, bats, cows, pigs, armadillos, bears, donkeys, eagles, horses, coyotes, owls and cats.

State Farm also offered tips to avoid hitting deer, although those steps aren’t anything you shouldn’t already be taking.

  • Slow down, particularly at dusk and dawn.
  • If you see one deer, be prepared for more deer to cross the road.
  • Pay attention to deer crossing signs.
  • Always buckle up — every trip, every time.
  • Use your high beams to see farther, except when there is oncoming traffic.
  • Brake if you can, but avoid swerving, which can result in a more severe crash.
  • Remain focused on the road. Scan for potential dangers, including animals.
  • Avoid distractions. Devices or eating might cause you to miss seeing an animal.
  • Do not rely on products such as deer whistles. They are not proven effective.
  • If riding a motorcycle, always wear protective gear. Keep focused on the road ahead.