If you've ever hit an animal while driving, you know that sick feeling that you get.  It's a horrible feeling that's impossible to describe.

When that animal is larger, it gets more complicated.  If you've ever hit a deer, it can have deadly consequences for those in the car, as well as the animal.  The damage your vehicle can sustain can be quite costly.

Nobody knows the cost of these vehicle/animal collisions like the insurance companies that pay for the damage repairs.

State Farm Insurance does an annual analysis to determine the extent of vehicle/animal collisions in an effort to better train drivers and cut down the chances of these accidents occurring.

Anyone who has driven on New Jersey roadways has seen the casualties of vehicle/animal collisions.  New Jersey has to be the worst for these collisions, right?

You might be surprised to learn that not only is New Jersey, not the worst, but we're also not even close.

The state where you're most likely to have a collision with an animal, according to State Farm Insurance is West Virginia.  Drivers in West Virginia, according to the report, have a 1 in 35 chance of being involved in this type of collision.

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Here in New Jersey, our chance of striking an animal is 1 in 194.  That ranks 39th in the country.  Are you as surprised as I am by that number?

The District of Columbia, with a 1 in 907 chance, is where we're least likely to strike an animal.

We're most likely to hit an animal between October through December.  That's mating and hunting season and wildlife is more active.

Dusk to dawn is feeding time.  Watch for activity on darker roads.

If you see one deer, there are more nearby.  If you see one deer crossing the road, there's a very good chance that another will be following.

MediaNews Group via Getty Images
MediaNews Group via Getty Images

While there's no sure way to prevent these accidents from happening, common sense can help avoid them.  Stay alert and keep your eyes on the road.

LOOK: Here are the states where you are most likely to hit an animal

Hitting an animal while driving is a frightening experience, and this list ranks all 50 states in order of the likelihood of such incidents happening, in addition to providing tips on how to avoid them.

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