How Does Michigan Compare to U.S. in Animal Collisions?
It's a rare day on the road in Michigan if you drive in one direction for longer than 10 minutes without seeing a dead animal on the side of the road. While it's not quite as likely that you'll be the one to hit the animal, the odds are still stacked against you, your car and the critters that cross the street in the Mitten State.
In fact, you're statistically more likely to hit an animal in Michigan than 90% of the United States. Among all 50 states and Washington D.C., Michigan was ranked No. 4 (tied with South Dakota for third, really) in the country for states where drivers are most likely to hit an animal, according to a list by Stacker and data from State Farm. The full list ranking all 50 states and Washington D.C. will be provided below.
When you get behind the wheel in Michigan, there's a 1 in 51 chance that you'll hit an animal during your drive. That's considerable considering the national average is 1 in 115.
What Animal Are You Most Likely To Hit
It'll come as no surprise, but deer are the number one most-hit animal in the country, according to a study by Havahart. Now, reporting to insurance companies for other animals isn't as likely as most animals don't cause as much damage as deer, but even our own general observation of the sides of the road can tell you all you need to know.
You'll just as likely see skunks, squirrels, raccoons and more on the side of Michigan's rural roadways.
It's worth noting, that it's actually illegal to hit a goose in Michigan. They may be mean creatures, but it's best to avoid them on the road whenever reasonably possible.
What Should You Do?
Unfortunately, according to multiple sources, the safest thing for drivers to do is to hit the animal rather than brake harshly or swerve to avoid the animal.
Still, a safe, smart and prepared driver can improve the odds of avoiding a collision with an animal by following some basic guidelines outlined by the Wildlife Collision Prevention Program:
- Respect road signs alerting of wildlife
- Drive within the speed limit
- Drive defensively by watching for signs and animals during peak hours
- Keep a clean windshield and bright headlights
More tips are available by following the link above.
I Hit an Animal, Now What?
First of all, hitting an animal is not a fun experience, regardless of what kind of animal or the damage caused to your vehicle. If you can safely take a moment to collect yourself, it's understandable to do so.
If your car was damaged, you'll want to file a claim and handle your business before leaving the scene. Otherwise, there's not much else you can or should do. Unless you have a roadkill salvage permit, it's unlawful for you to handle the animal. The Michigan Department of Transportation or an independent contractor may be tasked with removing the animal or it'll stay on the side of the road to decompose.