Staff Report

Tis the season to be cautious–deer season that is.

Along with cooler weather, fall months bring about an increase in deer

activity so Texas motorists should keep a close watch for animals that

occasionally wander onto the highway, especially at night.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) more than

7,000 animal-related crashes occurred on Texas highways in 2009, many

involving deer. Twenty-five of those crashes involved a fatality.

“Deer-vehicle collisions increase during the fall because the animals are

more active,” said Carol Rawson, Traffic Operations director. “It’s this

time of year that motorists need to be extra watchful and take steps to

avoid collisions.”

Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) biologists predict an increase in deer

population this year because of plenty of rain that has created an ideal

environment for wildlife to flourish.

Deer-car accidents tally to more than 1.5 million crashes in the United

States, costing an estimated $1.1 billion in vehicle damage, according to

recent reports from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Institute suggests the following defensive driving tips to avoid

hitting a deer:

  • Drive carefully in areas known to have high deer populations. Places

    where roads divide agricultural fields from forestland are particularly


  • If you see a deer, slow down. Others are probably nearby.
  • Use high-beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic. The high

    beams will reflect off deer’s eyes and warn you of their presence.

  • If a deer is in your lane, brake firmly but stay in the lane. The

    most serious crashes occur when drivers swerve.

  • Don’t rely on deer whistles, deer fences or reflectors to deter


  • Wear seat belts.
  • If your car strikes a deer, don’t touch the animal. If the deer is

    blocking the highway, call the police.

Remember, it is unlawful to possess a deer or part of a deer that has

been hit by a motor vehicle. For more information on fish and wildlife laws,

go to