WATCH OUT: States Where You Are Most Likely to Hit an Animal
Your odds of being killed by an animal in the U.S. are incredibly low. An academic analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data covering all animal-involved deaths from 2008 to 2015 found that Americans have just 1 chance in 1.6 million each year of dying as a result of any interaction at all with animals.
Deer: The Surprising Culprits Behind Almost 2 Million Vehicular Accidents in the Last Year
And the most common culprits when those tragedies do occur aren't the alligators, scorpions, or snakes you'd probably expect and fear the most—they're deer. As people continue to build homes and communities in places deer and other animals have lived for millennia, these creatures are more likely to run into the middle of the road—causing at least 1.9 million vehicular accidents over the year ending June 2022.
Accidents specifically involving deer are more common between October and December, which is deer mating season. The odds of hitting a deer are also higher around dawn, as well as during the night when deer are most active and roads are dark. Deer-vehicle crashes are dangerous and expensive, costing drivers north of $4,000 or more depending on the vehicle and the extent of the damage.
Stacker used State Farm's annual animal collision study to rank all 50 states and Washington D.C. by the likelihood a driver there will hit an animal. State Farm bases its rankings on insurance claims filed between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, as well as the number of licensed drivers in each state. True odds may vary, depending on the number of unreported animal collisions and unlicensed drivers.
Which States Are Most at Risk?
State Farm's claims analysis also found that the 2021-2022 period was a safer year for drivers and animals on the road than the year prior, with collisions dropping 5.5%. The odds that a driver collides with any animal on the road is about 1 in 115. The other four victims rounding out the top five of car-animal collisions were rodents, dogs, raccoons, and unidentified animals.
It may come as no surprise to find that the more rural areas of Appalachia and the Midwest had some of the highest car-animal crash odds in the country, while the desert Southwest had some of the lowest.
Curious to see if your state topped the list? Keep scrolling—and remember to always keep your eyes on the road, no matter the odds.