by: Michal Brower
Public Affairs Specialist, State Farm
State Farm just released its annual animal/deer collision research, which showed that Florida drivers saw an estimated 30% increase in animal collision claims. The most recent analysis reveals there were an estimated 50,800 animal collision claims for Florida (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021), compared with last year’s estimate of around 38,800 (July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.)
The stats serve as a strong reminder to drivers to remain cautious and aware as we have entered the top three months for animal collisions. Most animal-related crashes in the U.S. occur from October to December. While most collisions are with deer, many other animals followed closely behind such as dogs, cats, farm animals, and rodents.
Animal collision avoidance and safety tips
- Slow down. Travel at a speed that will allow you to stop in time if an animal comes into the beam cast by your headlights.
- Dusk to dawn are high-risk times; use high beams when appropriate.
- Scan the road and avoid swerving when you see an animal. Brake firmly when you notice an animal in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Many serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars.
- Always wear your seatbelt.
After-crash tips from an insurance perspective
- Move your vehicle to a safe place: Pull to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights.
- Call police: If an animal is blocking traffic and could be create a threat for other drivers. If the collision results in injury or property damage, you may need to fill out an official report. This report may prove useful when filing your insurance claim.
- Document: Take photographs of the road, your surroundings and damage.
- Don’t assume your vehicle is safe to drive: Look for leaking fluid, loose parts, tire damage, broken lights and other hazard. If your vehicle seems unsafe to drive, call for a tow. This could prevent further damage.
- Contact your insurance company: Quickly file your insurance claim.