With the hopes of curbing deer collisions, the Utah Department of Transportation has spent more than $47 million on changes to the highway-bypass system since 2005, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
Just last May, UDOT built an 11-mile fence along U.S. Highway 89 east of Kanab. According to a report by KSL, between 1,000 and 2,000 deer cross that highway twice a year, leading to an estimated 100 to 105 deer collisions per year on U.S. 89 alone.
The state of Utah as a whole this year is projected to have 8,488 car accidents involving one or more deer, according to Carinsurance.com's report of State Farm Insurance's predictions which place the state as one of the more deer-dangerous in the country.
The chance of a collision in Utah, according to the same report, is estimated to be roughly 1 in 205.9.
So what does that mean for your car insurance?
According to a report by Jay MacDonald at Bankrate.com, the Insurance Information Institute says the average auto insurance claim for a deer collision stands at more than $3,000.
“Logic might suggest that such crashes would fall under the collision portion of your policy,” MacDonald writes. “But instead, animal-related damage is typically treated as an "other than collision" claim under your comprehensive coverage, or ‘comp,’ which covers so-called acts of God such as wind, hail and flood, as well as fire, vandalism and theft.”
Bankrate also says not all deer-related accidents result from a collision. "A lot of times, you may not hit the deer; the deer may hit you or leap onto your car,” Ohio Insurance Institute spokesman Mitch Wilson told Bankrate.
With such high rates for deer-collision insurance claims, it’s important to understand the best ways to avoid the problem altogether.
The Insurance Information Institute offers some tips to avoid unnecessary encounters with Bambi:
• Pay close attention when you are on the road during sunrise and sunset hours. According to the institute, these are peak hours for deer-related accidents
• Heed the warnings of “deer crossing” signs and always remember that deer typically travel in groups.
• When appropriate, use your high beams as much as possible. This will make it easier to see any deer early on.
• If you do encounter a deer, slow down and honk to scare it away. Remember to stay in your lane. According to the institute, many crashes occur because the driver swerved to avoid the deer.
• Always wear your seat belt.
• Fancy devices marketed to deter deer aren’t effective, so don’t bother with them.