In West Virginia, fall means a higher risk of deer accidents

West Virginia has the highest rate of deer accidents in the country, with most occurring in the fall season.

For the tenth year in a row West Virginia has been ranked the state with the highest rate of per capita deer-versus-vehicle collisions. According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, a recent study by State Farm shows the risk of a motor vehicle accident involving a deer is much higher in West Virginia than anywhere else in the country. The number of accidents tend to spike during the fall season, but motorists throughout the state can take precautions in order to reduce the likelihood of a collision.

Highest rate of deer accidents

From July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, there were over 28,200 deer claims filed in West Virginia, at a rate of one out of every 41 drivers. That makes West Virginia the state with the highest rate of deer-accident claims in the country. Montana was second with one out of every 58 drivers filing a deer accident claim. Pennsylvania, Iowa, and South Dakota rounded out the top five, according to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

The chance of a collision increases greatly during the fall months. About forty percent of collisions happen from October to December. That period is both the peak breeding season for deer and the season when hunters are most likely to be out in the woods. Both those factors help keep deer moving and thus posing a danger to motorists.

Staying safe

While deer can be unpredictable, there are ways for motorists to stay safe. The most important thing to do is to always be aware of one's surroundings and to keep an eye on the side of the road. Distracted driving is always dangerous, but especially so when a deer could suddenly dart out onto the road. Keep in mind, as well, that deer tend to travel in packs, so if one is spotted then others are likely nearby. When possible, high beam headlights should be used.

Avoid driving at high speeds and certainly never drink and drive. Speeding and impaired driving can both make it very hard to stop in time for a deer. If a deer is spotted, the best thing to do is to honk one's horn multiple times at short blasts and to apply the brakes. Try to avoid swerving out of the lane to avoid a deer as doing so could lead to an even greater collision involving other vehicles.

Hurt in a crash?

For those who have been injured in a crash, help is available. Car accident injuries can take months, even years, to recover from and they could prove a significant financial burden. Anybody who has been hurt in a crash should contact our office for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys can help accident victims in a number of ways, including guiding them through the claims process.