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Drivers Beware: Deer Season Has Arrived

With the cooler autumn weather comes a new threat to drivers on Texas roads: deer. Unpredictable and potentially anywhere, these animals can pose a serious hazard to those who aren't paying sufficient attention or who are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Few things can truly eliminate the risk of encounters with deer when driving. In 2009, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were more than 7,000 animal-related car accidents on state roads, many of which involved deer.

Unfortunately for drivers, biologists from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department have predicted that the deer population will increase this year, which could lead to a rise in the number of driver collisions with deer.

However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has recommended some defensive driving tactics, to help reduce the likelihood of these collisions.

  • When driving in areas with high deer populations, be particularly careful. Wear your seatbelt and stay on high alert.
  • If you see a single deer, slow down - others may be nearby, and drivers going too quickly may not see others until it is too late to avoid a crash.
  • If you see a deer in your lane, do not swerve into another lane. Slow down and wait for the deer to pass, or wait until you can safely pass without the risk of running into other vehicles. Oftentimes the most serious crashes occur when drivers attempt to go around deer, thereby running into other vehicles.
  • When you aren't encountering other traffic, keep your headlights on high beams. These beams can help you notice deer more quickly, as the bright lights will reflect off of the eyes of a deer.

As simple as it may seem, the most important thing that drivers can do is pay attention and remain focused when driving. Deer can appear in an instant, and a driver must be ready to respond quickly and appropriately.

Related Resource: Texas DOT "TxDOT Cautions Motorists to Watch Out for Deer During Season"

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