State Farm recently published their annual “odds of hitting a deer” report. Using its claim data and state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration, state that the chances of hitting a deer over the next twelve months is one in 174 . . . which is actually down 4.3 percent over a year ago. The insurance giant states that it is not that people are hitting less deer . . . there are more drivers on the road compared to last year. As the number of drivers goes up, the odds of hitting a deer go down. Last Saturday evening . . . I beat the odds and hit a deer.
Actually, I missed the first deer, never saw the second deer, and smacked that booger into the next dimension. It was not pretty and I am still pretty mad at it . . . even after I backed up and ran over it a second time! Darn deer!
State Farm claims that between July 1, 2012 and June 39, 2013 there were 1.22 million deer car collisions which is down 3.5 percent over the year before. I think that my contribution to those statistics will boost that number when they figure the odds out for the next year. I guess I am just doing my part in adding to the rising cost of insurance.
I also think that I am doing more than my fair share of contributing to the auto body repair business. Those guys are eating it up, padding their bank accounts, and going on cruises while I scrape up the deductible to get my car repaired. Just like in beating the odds of hitting a deer, I blew the top off of the average property damage cost of these incidents . . . the average is around $3,500 . . . my auto adjustor quoted a cost of about $6,500 to get my car repaired. Thanks to my smushed friend, the deer, I am an over-achiever!
The odds were against me from the beginning. The national odds are one in 174 . . . Montana drivers odds are one in 65. For the second year in a row the Big Sky state finished second to West Virginia where the odds are one in 41 . . . which actually represented an 8.3 percent improvement for West Virginia. I guess when one looks at the odds in Montana . . . well, I am not really much of an overachiever after all. The states that follow West Virginia and Montana in the top five are: Iowa (#3), South Dakota (#4), and Pennsylvania (#5). With my contribution, maybe Montana will move up in the next year and finally overtake those Mountaineers.
State Farm also shared the states where people are the least likely to hit a deer: Florida, California, Nevada, and Hawaii. I guess I could improve my odds of not hitting a deer by moving to one of those states . . . but my odds would go up in hitting an elderly snowbird in Florida, someone famous and in the entertainment industry in California, a gamble in Nevada, and a surfer or tourist in Hawaii. I risk the odds in Montana . . . besides none of them have the beauty of Montana or its big skies.
Of course, State Farm, wanting to prove that they actually car about people more than money, has published an infographic detailing how drivers can avoid a deer collision. How thoughtful of them . . . the fewer deer hit, the fewer the claims, and the fewer the claims the less money they are putting out. Under the title Deer Safety 101 they share these tips:
--Be aware of posted deer crossing signs . . . as if deer actually cross at those stupid signs! I have never come across a deer crossing at one of those signs. Like some woman once argued, “If the deer would only cross where the signs are there would be fewer accidents!” Duh! Deer can’t read . . . signs are worthless.
--Deer are most active from 6:00 to 9:00PM . . . but, they warn, deer and other animals can be on the road at any time. Duh! Maybe the deer need a telephone hotline for drivers to call to find out when they are going to be the most active . . . I have hit deer in the afternoon, after 10:00PM, and whenever it seems to be a full moon and rutting season is in full swing. Horny deer have no respect for motor vehicles!
--Use high beam headlamps . . . this suggestion is to bring more illumination to the areas from which deer will enter the roadways . . . which won’t be where the deer crossing signs are! After reading the advice in the previous suggestion, that critters can be out on the road at any time, I feel pretty stupid driving in broad day light with my high beams on.
--Distractions like cell phones and eating can cause a driver to miss seeing a deer until it’s too late . . . none of the deer I ever hit, and this one in particular, was playing with its cell phone or eating. It was too busy playing chicken with my car . . . and lost.
But the capper to State Farm’s advice for deer safety while driving was: “If a deer collision seems inevitable . . . attempting to swerve out of the way could cause you to lose control of the vehicle or place the car in the path of an oncoming vehicle.” I was taught to plow ahead . . . and, I did. The poor deer never had a chance . . . and, I am now out my deductible!
As I stated, it still smarts to think that I hit a deer. I like deer except when they are running into my car. It smarts because I hit it, killed it, and it put a pinch in my wallet. That is probably where it smarts the most. Of course folks have been sympathetic towards my deer encounter . . . they have been reassuring that I did everything possible . . . and, they have even shared their own stories about hitting deer . . . but, it still smarts. One guy I know even said he would say a prayer . . . for the deer. The deer didn’t have insurance, I did. After a week I am almost ready to forgive the deer . . . but, not quite.
I am thankful that no one—except poor ol’ Bambi and my car—were hurt. The odds were against me and against the deer. Seems I have a knack at hitting deer . . . but, it would be cheaper to buy a gun, a license, and everything that goes with hunting than running them over with my car. I am tired of beating the odds. I don’t have this sort of luck when buying my annual lottery ticket . . . maybe they need to print deer on them to increase my odds of winning . . . shoot, maybe even put a lottery ticket crossing sign! Oh well, I am still here . . . the deer is not. I wonder what the odds are for a deer having a close encounter with a car? Probably better than mine!