Study: South Dakota Ranked Fourth Likeliest For Animal Collisions

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- South Dakota ranks fourth in the nation for car accidents involving animals. That’s according to a new study from State Farm. 

In the study, State Farm says U.S. drivers on average have a 1 in 116 chance of a collision with an animal. However, in South Dakota drivers have a 1 in 54 chance of hitting an animal with their car. This ranks South Dakota fourth in the nation for the likeliness of animal collisions. Officials with Game, Fish, and Parks says that’s likely because South Dakota has more wildlife to people per capita than other states.

They says this is a popular time of year for wildlife to be out because it’s getting close to winter.

“Animals are out actively feeding more often and they’re building fat reserves for the coming winter. Another big reason is the breeding season for deer in particular, so they’re out chasing each other around,” said Josh Delger, Regional Wildlife Supervisor for Game, Fish and Parks. 

If you do see a deer, expect others nearby. While out driving, Delger wants to remind folks to stay extra alert for animals on the move.

“Looking for areas of wildlife habitats close to the roads, if there’s a shelter belt or native grasses on each side of the road, rivers, creeks. That’s typically where animals tend to travel and those are the places you’re more likely to encounter them,” said Delger.

If a deer does jump in front of you, South Dakota Highway Patrol says not to swerve.

“You’re more likely to get into a serious accident if you run off the road, so just break firmly and stay in your lane and try to avoid the deer that way,” said State Trooper Chris Hogan. 

As much as we don’t want to hit a deer, sometimes it’s unavoidable. If you do hit a deer, Hogan says, “Try to pull your vehicle over safely off the roadway and then call 9-1-1 and we’ll get out there to help.”

According to South Dakota Highway Patrol, October through December is the peak time for animal-car collisions. Last year, there were around 1,900 of those crashes during that time.

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