After reading about a horrific crash over the weekend in Indiana in which 3 people were killed when an SUV struck a deer, crossed the center median, and then crashed head-on with a pickup truck, I began wondering what the odds were of something like that happening to any of us who drive Northern Illinois' roads.

It all depends on the time of year, but since we just entered deer mating season, your odds of an up-close-and-personal encounter with a deer are higher than at any other point in the year.

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Man, these guys really insist on jay-walking. (Getty Images)

Most Everyone In Illinois Knows At Least One Person Who Has Crashed Into A Deer

Many years ago, my broadcast partner at the time, Rick, was late coming into work, and I had received no phone call that he'd be running behind. When I finally did get a call, he informed me that he was at Swedish American Hospital after a collision with a deer on Meridian Road early that morning.

His very large SUV (and, of course, the deer) didn't survive the encounter, and Rick nearly didn't either. A wrenched neck, rib injuries, and other bruises and abrasions kept him off work for nearly a week, and his SUV was a total loss. Afterwards, he told me that when October arrived each year, he dealt with a high degree of anxiety every time he got behind the wheel, imagining a repeat deer encounter.

A white tailed buck about to cross the highway.
Should I stay or should I go? Well, of course I'm going to go!  (Getty Images)

I Found It Surprising That Illinois Is Ranked As A "Medium-Risk" State When It Comes To Deer/Vehicle Collisions

In the United States as a whole, drivers have about a 1 in 116 chance of hitting a deer (or other animal). Here in Illinois, the odds are 1 in 148State Farm found in its annual deer-vehicle collision study .

West Virginia is the state with the greatest likelihood of animal collisions for the 14th year in a row, the study shows. There's a 1 in 37 chance of a driver hitting a deer or other animal in the Mountaineer State. In 2019, State Farm had 7,721 auto claims for animal collisions in West Virginia.

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Getty Images

The other states in the top ten include Montana, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Michigan.

If you're looking to move to a state where your chances of an animal encounter go way down, you'll want to look at Hawaii. Hawaii is the state where it's least likely for a driver to hit an animal, with a reported rate there of 1 in 642. California and Arizona are the second and third least-likely states for animal collisions.

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