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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
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Minnesota Ranked 10th In Number Of Deer Hit Yearly

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The last study from State Farm Insurance indicated that Minnesota was the 10th most likely state for drivers to hit a deer. Nationally, 1 in 183 vehicles will collide with a deer in any given year. The number of car/deer collisions puts Minnesota in the risk category.

Statewide deer-vehicle collisions in 2010 are on track with recent years. More than 1,900 collisions have been reported so far across the state, compared with more than 2,600 last year. During the past five years, 20 of 24 deaths related to deer-vehicle collisions in Minnesota were motorcycle drivers, as were 107 of the 132 serious injuries. Nearly a quarter of the deer killed by cars in Minnesota each year meet their demise in the metro area, with Hennepin County leading the way with nearly 1,000 crashes during the past five years.

The average property damage cost of these incidents was $3,103, up 1.7 percent from a year ago. Overall, State Farm experiences about 1.2 million deer hit claims per year.

Some helpful suggestions:

Rule 1: Treat every deer as if it’s going to cross in front of you. If you assume a deer feeding on the shoulder is going to hold its position until you have gone by, you’re just an accident waiting to happen.

Rule 2: Drive according to the conditions. If the night is foggy, rainy, or slippery, you might not be able to prevent a collision, but you can minimize the damage if you’re driving slowly enough. Don’t just speed along and hope nothing gets in your way.

Rule 3: Keep your eyes on the road at all times. You may only have a second or two to react to a deer crossing the highway. If you’re not an attentive driver, you can get hurt.

If a crash with a deer seems inevitable, safety experts advise people not to swerve because of the risk of losing control or swerving into oncoming traffic. From the car insurance angle, Steve Murphy, with the Willard & Williams insurance agency in Mankato points out the difference in hitting a deer or the ditch also affects motorists’ insurance premiums. “If you swerve and miss the deer and end up in the ditch, it’s an at-fault accident and affects your rates. If you hit the deer, it’s under your comprehensive (coverage) and doesn’t affect your rates,” Murphy said.

While there is no liability claim for the driver of the car, he or she is covered for Minnesota No Fault Benefits. These benefits are paid in the same manner that they would be paid in any Minnesota motor vehicle collision. Passengers may still have a claim for liability depending on the facts of the collision. It is important that these case be investigated early by an Attorney who does this type of work.