While we've enjoyed sunshine, moderate temperatures and otherwise pleasant conditions here in New Jersey over the last few months, it's time to start preparing yourself for all that to change. Sooner than later, autumn will start to wind down and winter will set in, meaning falling temps and, of course, rain, sleet and snow which will serve to make the roads especially slick. Until that happens, however, motorists here in the Garden State and throughout the East Coast should be aware of perhaps one of the bigger car accident risks at this time of the year: deer-vehicle collisions. According to a recently released study from State Farm Insurance, which examined data from the Federal Highway Administration, there were an estimated 1.22 million deer-vehicle collisions in the U.S. between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013. Furthermore, the study found that the average driver in the U.S. has a 1 in 174 chance of hitting a deer within the next 12 months and that deer-vehicle collisions are three times more likely to occur during November. While you might think that a state like Montana would have the highest number of deer-vehicle collisions due to its vast wilderness and rural highways, this wasn't the case. For the seventh year in a row, West Virginia topped the list, with State Farm finding that drivers in this state have a 1 in 41 chance of hitting a deer over the next 12 months. The states rounding out the top five include:
  • Montana - 1 in 65 chance
  • Iowa - 1 in 73 chance
  • South Dakota - 1 in 75 chance 
  • Pennsylvania - 1 in 77 chance
Given the rural nature of some parts of New Jersey, Safety drivers may want to consider some of the following tips for avoiding deer-related car collisions:
  • Take note of the deer warning signs posted along the roads and highways
  • Remember that if you see one deer, there are probably others as they typically travel in herds
  • Pay extra attention between 6 to 9 p.m. as these are the times that deer are most active
  • Utilize your high beams as much as possible to help see any deer
Those who have been injured in car accidents caused by negligent drivers here in New Jersey should understand that they can seek the justice they deserve and that they should strongly consider speaking with an experienced attorney. Source: Claims Journal, "Deer-vehicle collisions decline: State Farm," October 1, 2013