Accident data collected by insurance companies show that Texas drivers are more likely to hit deer in November than any other time of the year. Accidents with wildlife involving other types of animals are even more daunting to motorists. Imagine accidently hitting a large bear or hog! In that case, it’s a good idea to stay in the vehicle and alert the authorities.
When these animals cross the road in front of us, they cause an average of $4,000 in property damage. Collisions with wildlife also cause catastrophic injuries and death. Texas Department of Transportation statistics show there were 24 fatal car accidents involving animals in our state in 2015.
You don’t even have to hit wildlife to be involved in a car accident! A recent crash here in Angelina County involved the driver of a passenger car hitting the brakes to avoid a deer and being struck from behind by a semi-truck. The driver was forced off the road and transported to a nearby hospital.
For Angelina County residents, seeing deer and other wildlife on the roadways is a normal occurrence. It is important that we know how to avoid accidents with these critters. The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife (TDWD) has some ideas.
5 Tips for Avoiding Accidents with Wildlife
- Pay closer attention from sunset to midnight: Deer and many other animals are more active from sunset to midnight. You may have to pay closer attention during these times and make good use of your high beams when there is no oncoming traffic.
- Avoid swerving: TDWD suggests braking gently and staying in your lane. Slamming on the brakes or swerving can cause other nearby drivers to lose control.
- If there is one, there are more: If you see a deer, there are probably more than one. Deer travel in groups. Other wild animals, such as bears, may follow similar behaviors.
- Don’t touch the animal: If you hit a deer or other type of animal with your vehicle, it may not be dead. Any animal you hit is going to be frightened, wounded, mad or all of the above. There is a video going around of a woman who was attacked by a deer she hit with her car. After opening the door to check on the wounded animal, the deer forced itself into her car and started hitting her with its hooves. Don’t make this mistake.
- Roadkill is a road hazard: Some people hit-and-run animals and leave their bodies on the road. Large animals do not have to be alive to pose a significant risk to other motorists.
Living near forested areas has its perks, but it also has certain risks for motorists. We need to be extra attentive to the fact that we share the road with deer and other animals. When you are driving next month, please stay safe and keep an extra eye out for this common hazard.
The Texas personal injury attorneys at Mike Love & Associates, LLC encourage you to drive safely.