Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that twice as many motorists are killed in vehicle collisions with wildlife in Texas than any other state. Most of those collisions are with deer.
On average, there are more than 5,000 vehicle/animal collisions each year on Texas highways and 17 people killed in those crashes, according to IIHS.
Deer hunting season, which begins in November, is a peak time for deer crossing roadways.
"The movement of wild animals near any highway is unpredictable," said Mark Hanna, a spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas. "This is why it is so important to be watching not only the roadway but any movement near the roadway to be prepared to stop if necessary."
According to IIHS, there are more than one million vehicle collisions with deer resulting in more than $1 billion in vehicle damage across the United States each year.
While many of these collisions are unavoidable, it is important to always be prepared. Car drivers should always wear seatbelts and motorcyclists should always wear helmets. IIHS also shared the following tips to help drivers stay prepared:
- Crashes with deer occur most frequently in rural areas, on roads with 55 mph or higher speed limits and in darkness or at dusk or dawn.
- Motorists should slow down and be more alert in areas where deer are most likely to appear.
- Wearing a safety belt will lessen the impact of a collision with an animal and may allow you to maintain control of your vehicle after the crash.
- Do not attempt to steer into oncoming traffic or veer off the roadway to avoid colliding with an animal.
- If you collide with an animal, immediately turn on your flashers and move onto the shoulder to avoid oncoming traffic.
- Comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy provides protection in animal crashes.
- Call 911 to report the mishap and contact your insurance agent or insurance company to repair your vehicle.