Illinois ranks 32nd in deer-car collisions, behind New York, Ken - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Illinois ranks 32nd in deer-car collisions, behind New York, Kentucky and Missouri

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WSIL -- Experts say you have a better chance of hitting a deer on the road in New York than in Illinois.

States at the top of State Farm's annual list have been at the top consistently: West Virginia at No. 1 and Montana at No. 2.

"In West Virginia, you seem to have more compact roads, you have a lot of mountain switch-backs, a lot more opportunity for deer to be lurking right there at the edge of the road," State Farm Agent Bill Ecker said.

You have a 1-in-43 chance of crashing into a deer in West Virginia, but in Illinois that rate plummets to 1-in-204, good for 32nd on the list and lower than states like New York (1-in-161), Kentucky (1-in-100) and Missouri (1-in-112).

Despite that, you're not out of the woods when it comes to hitting a deer. State Farm said the number of deer-car collisions rises dramatically between the months of October and December, coinciding with deer mating season.

"Deer are more on the move because the rut is on: the males are pursuing the females and they're likely to not be watching as they run across the road so we have to be watching," Ecker said.

Ecker said deer are out most frequently in the twilight hours, so you should always drive with your high-beams on.

If a deer is in your path, Ecker said the best thing you can do is stay on the road. Obviously try to stop, but don't swerve to avoid the deer, even if that means hitting it.

"Because you could end up killing someone else or yourself and we would much rather just pay for the damage to your vehicle," Ecker said.

It could even cost you more money for repairs since hitting a deer falls under comprehensive coverage, compared to collision coverage.

"Maybe (policyholders) would carry a higher collision deductible than they would comprehensive, so it can make a dollar difference too for the policyholder," Ecker said.

And Ecker says take plenty of photos of the damage before you clean the car to prove you actually hit a deer.

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