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Last year, a large auto insurance company released statistics on animal-related collisions in the U.S. In it, the insurer estimated that American drivers filed 1.8 million collision coverage claims across the industry due to a hit with an animal. There are several states with the highest number of filed claims from mid-2022 to mid-2023. Separate from this, other states pose a greater overall likelihood of critter collisions. Find the 10 states you’re most likely to hit an animal while driving, plus tips on avoiding this type of car accident, below.

Last September, State Farm released a report sharing that Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas, North Carolina, and Ohio had the most insurance claims filed for wildlife-related car wrecks. Cars on paved but rural roadways after dark are in the ideal driving conditions for running into local fauna. As such, it makes sense that states with more of these roadways and decent population size file more of these claims.

On top of the environmental conditions, risky driving behaviors like speeding or distracted driving will increase your likelihood of a critter crash by 23%.

A deer looks down a paved road from the grassy tree-lined embankment as a white SUV approaches
Pascal-L-Marius via iStock

10 states you’re most likely to hit an animal on the road

  1. West Virginia
  2. Montana
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Michigan
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Iowa
  7. Mississippi
  8. South Dakota
  9. Virginia
  10. Missouri

Pennsylvania may have the highest number of animal-related insurance claims, but West Virginia drivers are most likely to deal with these collisions. Interestingly, while drivers in Texas filed more claims than most other states, it isn’t on the list of the top 10 most likely to result in a critter collision. As a side note, State Farm did include claims involving rodents, such as claims related to driveability issues, like chewing wires, in their report.

Tips to avoid hitting an animal while driving

  • Don’t speed
  • Pay attention
  • Slow down, flash your lights, and honk if you have time
  • Don’t swerve to avoid hitting an animal. Doing so might increase the risk of injury.
  • Understand your environment. Look for animal crossing signs and be aware of local wildlife populations.

If you do hit an aminal, stay calm. Check for injuries to yourself and any passengers first. Call 911 if you or someone else is hurt. For small quadrupeds causing little to no damage, like rabbits and raccoons, you can leave the scene. If your car is not driveable, you’ll have to call for a tow. Local authorities will know what to do about larger animals blocking roadways. Call them to report an injured or deceased deer in the middle of the road, for instance.