How to Avoid Deer Collisions on Texas Roads and Highways

By  | 

We hate spam too, we'll never share your email address



You’ve seen the deer crossing signs on Texas highways, but it’s time you really pay attention to those. Watch out when driving Texas Hill Country roads and highways this winter. Peak season for deer collisions lasts from October through December. This corresponds to both hunting season and mating season. Deer collisions can cause severe damage to your vehicle and even loss of life.

How to Avoid Deer Collisions

This is what happens to a car after a deer collision

Photo: Flickr/Chuck LeDuc Diaz

Hitting a deer with your vehicle could cause death or severe injury to the deer or to those in the car. There are several preventative measures you can take to avoid collisions with deer. If possible, try to avoid driving at dusk or dawn, especially in rural areas. These are the times deer tend to be most active, and the low lighting makes it more difficult to see the animals. Most deer collisions occur during the fall and winter between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. These times tend to be when people commute home from work, increasing traffic on the road, and the holiday season also puts more cars onto rural roads. If you do not see oncoming traffic, use your high beams to better illuminate the road, and slow down going around curves, when a deer in the road may be hidden until it’s too late. If you see one deer, in or near the road, be wary of others, since deer rarely travel alone.

What to Do When You Hit a Deer

Deer on a highway


Even the most cautious of drivers may still get into trouble by fast-moving deer. If a deer crosses your path, minimize the damage with a few defensive driving maneuvers. First, don’t swerve or turn your steering wheel, as tempting as it may be. You could veer off the road or into oncoming traffic, making the situation much worse. Brake and come to a complete stop. Check to see if anyone in your vehicle is hurt, and call for medical help if so. Also, call the police and your insurance company to report the accident. Depending on your auto coverage, you may get compensated for the damage the deer did to your vehicle. In the meantime, try to stay calm, and if your vehicle can safely steer to the shoulder, try to get it out of the traffic lane; otherwise, leave it where it is. Wait outside your vehicle, away from the roadway until a tow truck or other assistance arrives.

What to Do If You Find a Struck Deer on the Road

Pay attention to signs to avoid deer collisions

Photo: Flickr/State Farm

Sometimes, you may not have hit a deer but someone else did, and the animal will be on the side of the road. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recommends calling wildlife rehabilitation if the deer is still alive, but if it is not, leave it for the Department of Transportation to remove. You are not permitted to collect a dead deer or tag it from the side of the road.