During the pandemic, people talked a lot about badly behaved drivers and how dangerous they were to others on the roads. People in some places have other things to worry about, such as animals on the roads, as a recent study from a personal injury attorney’s office showed that some states have considerable numbers of fatal crashes involving wildlife.
John Foy & Associates of Georgia looked at National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data to rank states according to the number of fatal crashes involving animals. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they are all sparsely populated states known for large animals like moose, bear, elk, and deer.
Most states high on the list also experience significant winter weather, which the law firm said contributes to the accidents. Shorter days and poor road conditions make more likely a dangerous crash with an animal. The firm noted that paying attention to road signs is important and that slowing down is one of the best ways to avoid hitting an animal. If you see an animal in your path, avoid sudden swerving and jerky steering movements to prevent loss of control.
Montana topped the list, with 23% of its fatal crashes involving an animal. Wisconsin was No. 2, and while it had more fatal animal accidents overall, the percentage of fatal crashes was lower at 14% of the total. Maine, where I live, landed at No. 10 on the list, with 6% of deadly crashes involving animals.
On the other end of the spectrum, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia had no fatal crashes involving animals — not one. Vermont only has 645,000 residents, and Rhode Island is almost too crowded for large animals to be an issue. D.C. only has political animals. The largest animals in Hawaii live in or very close to the ocean, so it’s doubtful that a humpback whale or blue marlin would cause a fatal crash.
And California had 22 fatal crashes involving animals, but that’s less than 0.5%, because the state is so big and driving so extensive that the total number of fatal crashes is over 4,000.
Here’s the full ranking: