Minnesota drivers rank number 7 on the top 10 list for of hittin - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Minnesota drivers rank number 7 on the top 10 list for of hitting a large animal this year, State Farm study shows

Table 1 Table 1

State Farm released its 15th annual deer claim study, which ranks states by the likelihood a driver has of hitting a large animal such as: a deer, elk, moose, and caribou over a given time period.

Minnesota drivers are all too familiar with deer crossing signs and the danger of these animals crossing roads and highways.  

The study showed that the likelihood of having an insurance claim involving a deer is 1 out of every 74 Minnesota drivers - an 8 percent increase from 2016. The likelihood of colliding with a large animal more than doubles during October, November and December, during deer mating season.

"Another thing besides the rut or the mating season for the deer is you got hunting season going on now, bow-hunting, fire-arm season is going to be coming up," said Chief Deputy Mark May. "Plus the farmers are in the field harvesting crops so they're gonna be pushing the deer around too."

Iowa held it's spot at fourth, while Wisconsin moved into the top 5, and South Dakota jumped up into the 6th spot.  Wyoming moved into the top 10 at number 8 and North Dakota moved up to number 10. (See Table 1)

No matter where you live, it's important to stay focused on the road so you can take action in the event a large animal is suddenly in your path.

"You may wanna watch your grip when you're driving too. If the airbags are deployed, if your hands are on top of the steering wheel, they're gonna take your hands off the steering wheel and you're gonna lose control of the car, and could swerve over that way," said Chief Deputy May, "So be cognizant of hand placement too."

These collisions can cause significant injuries. Chief Deputy May was in that situation once.

"The airbag itself, you know, just sort of peeled the skin back on my forearms from being deployed. And then, you know, I had a person in the back of my car and when I was braking too, and when I struck the deer, his face came forward and hit the back of the cage of the squad car. So we both were getting checked out at the same time."

And needless to say, hitting a deer can cause property damage. A deer hit the car pictured to the right Wednesday night. The car belongs to an administrative assistant at the Austin Police Department. She said was driving home, going 30 miles-an-hour at dusk when it happened. Fortunately, no one was hurt, not even the deer.

Some other tips, from police, to help keep drivers safe include slowing down, particularly at dusk and dawn. Do not to rely on products such as deer whistles, which have proven to be ineffective.

If you see one deer, be prepared for more deer to cross the road.

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