(Coppell, TX) - Fewer daylight hours and a spike in deer activity during the fall months increase the chances of roadway crashes with the animals. Deer collisions become more common this time of year since peak breeding season takes place in November. A collision with deer or other animals can put a serious dent in your vehicle, if not destroy it completely, and could result in serious injuries or fatalities.
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 each year in these crashes. AAA Texas estimates the cost of vehicle damage could range from a couple hundred dollars, to a total loss. The average car versus deer collision claim is roughly $2,500
“Drivers who are not buckled up and motorcyclists who are not wearing safety helmets are most vulnerable in these crashes,” said AAA Texas/New Mexico Representative Doug Shupe. “Many of the crashes are unavoidable but understanding the dangers and being prepared for them, especially in November and December when most automobile/deer crashes occur, could save lives.”
How to prevent or lessen the severity of a collision
Don’t swerve. If a deer darts in front of you, brake firmly but resist the urge to swerve. This could cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
- Where there is one, there are others. Deer tend to travel in groups, so expect others to follow.
- Expect deer to run. Slow down when approaching deer near the side of the road.
- Obey warning signs. Deer crossing signs indicate areas that have had a large number of deer vs. vehicle accidents.
- Continuously sweep your eyes across the road in search of movement in the road and alongside the road. Most crashes happen when a driver hits an animal but on occasion the animal might run into the side of a vehicle.
- Be especially attentive in early morning and evening hours. Many animals, especially deer, are most active from 5-8 AM and 5-8 PM, prime commuting times for many people.
- Use high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic. You can spot animals sooner if light reflects off their eyes to reveal their location.
- Always obey speed limits and wear a seatbelt. The chances of getting injured when hitting an animal are much higher if you don’t have your seatbelt on.
- Never drive after drinking alcohol, or while distracted or drowsy.
What to do if you hit a deer
- Keep your distance if the deer isn’t killed. The animal may recover and move on.
- Do not try to move the deer. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or further injure itself. It’s best to call 911.
- Contact your auto insurance company as soon as possible. Remember, comprehensive coverage in your auto policy may provide protection in animal crashes.
- Take pictures to document the crash.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com. Find additional news from AAA Texas in our online newsroom at http://tx-aaa.iprsoftware.com/.