According to TxDOT, in 2015 there were 24 fatal crashes involving wild animals on Texas roads. Did you know the average car crash with a deer costs at least $2,500, according to AAA? Deer accidents on Texas roads also can be deadly to drivers and passengers, and they’re more common in fall and winter, due to less daylight hours and a rise in deer activity.
Even so, Texas ranks 38th among states for the most potential deer collisions, says State Farm Insurance, It considers Texas a “medium risk state” for such crashes.
Of course, that’s small comfort for motorists in the more than 5,000 animal-vehicle crashes annually on Texas roads. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says those crashes kill an average of 17 Texans each year.
The Texas Department of Transportation gives an even higher figure, at least for 2015. Last year brought 24 fatal car crashes involving wild animals on Texas roads, TxDOT says.
Safety Tips to Avoid Deer on Roads
From costly damages to deaths and horrible injuries, it’s clear we need safety tips to avoid deer on our roads. While some crashes are inevitable, many can be avoided.
The AAA provides these tips to prevent car-deer crashes or to reduce their severity:
When you see a deer in the road ahead, don’t swerve, this can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Instead, brake firmly.
If you see deer near the road, but off the road, slow down as you approach. They could run in front of you. Also, deer travel in groups, so sighting one deer may mean others are near.
Heed deer crossing signs which warn you where deer are likely to cross the road.
Be most alert to deer around dusk and dawn — in early evening and early morning — when they tend to be most active.
At night when there are no oncoming vehicles, use high-beam headlights to spot deer sooner.
Always wear seat belts, and don’t drive while distracted, drowsy or under the influence of alcohol.
Tips For If You Hit a Deer
The AAA also offers these tips for if you hit a deer:
Stay away from the deer if it isn’t dead. An injured or frightened deer can hurt you.
Don’t attempt to move a deer, dead or alive.
Call 911 to report the crash and alert authorities if a dead or injured animal is on the road.
Take photos of the crash for your claim to your auto insurance company. If your policy has comprehensive coverage, it can provide protection in car-animal collisions.
Odds of Having a Car-Deer Crash
Yours odds of having a car-deer crash may be higher than you think. According to State Farm, one in every 288 Texas drivers will have an insurance claim for damages caused by such a crash this year, a risk that’s 3 percent higher than in 2015.
State Farm also gives a higher average cost of a deer crash than the AAA, saying the average claim is $4,000.
Some of the biggest claims, it says, are from crashes when vehicles swerve to avoid hitting deer and then strike other vehicles or run off the road. An actual collision with a deer may not be the worst.
At least we’re past November, which statistically is the worst month for deer-car collisions. That’s in part due to the start of hunting season for white-tailed deer, says the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.
But October through December are all months for deer mating season, and all three have higher levels of deer activity and collisions, with October being second-worst, followed by December. In fact, you have twice as high of a chance of a deer crash in the last three months of the year than in any other months.
So increase your odds, observe our safety tips and drive to arrive alive.