Texas has twice as many motorists killed in vehicles colliding with wild animals than any other state. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), more than 5,000 vehicle/animal crashes occur annually on Texas highways and on average, 17 people are killed every year in these crashes.
Most of the accidents involve deer and the onset of the deer hunting season which gets underway this weekend becomes a peak time when deer are crossing Texas roadways and causing major accidents. It’s especially dangerous for motorists not wearing seat belts and motorcyclists not wearing helmets.
“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.”
Data from the IIHS shows more than 1 million deer/vehicle collisions occur each year in the U.S. resulting in more than $1 billion in vehicle damage. Many animal/vehicle collisions are unavoidable, but recognizing the danger and being prepared can save lives.
- 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.