AUSTIN (NEXSTAR) — According to new data released by State Farm, Texas drivers have an increased likelihood of having an accident with a deer this year.
The insurance company estimates one in every 288 Texas drivers will have an insurance claim for damage caused by a deer collision in 2016 — which is a lower risk compared to the rest of the nation, but three percent higher than last year in Texas.
“An average claim of just hitting the deer is $4,000,” Jesse McConchie with State Farm Insurance said. “It can be very severe. Most typically it is just property damage with cars until you either swerve and hit a ditch or swerve and hit another vehicle, and then it becomes bodily injury.”
McConchie said deer damage can not only be costly for drivers, but it can also be dangerous. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2015 there were 24 fatal car crashes involving wild animals on Texas roads.
“Most accidents are minor damage, just small fender benders, but a deer is usually more severe damage,” McConchie said. “And that’s just the damage that the deer causes, a deer can also hit you versus you hitting the deer.”
Texas ranks 38th in the country for the most potential deer collisions, up from 39th in 2015. According to State Farm, the Lone Star State is considered a “medium risk state”.
“If you know that you are driving in an area where it is prone to many deer on the highway,” McConchie said, “especially in these upcoming months, then slow down and use your bright lights.”
McConchie said drivers need to be on the lookout earlier this year, and pay attention to deer crossing signs alerting drivers to slow down. Most importantly, according to McConchie, if a deer darts out in front of your car, make sure you brake and avoid swerving.
November is the most active month for deer strikes, most likely because it’s the beginning of hunting season for white-tailed deer, according to The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. However, McConchie said with over 200,000 more cars on the roads in Texas, drivers need to be on the lookout even earlier this year.
For more tips on how to avoid a collision with a deer or what to do if you hit a deer, click here.