Tragedy on the Road: When a Deer Hits a Car!

Tuesday afternoon, I was driving south along Egret Bay (FM 270) from Clear Lake City to League City, TX.  Along the side of the road was a young deer, feeding on grass.


Safety Tips for Driving in a Deer Habitat *


The deer had obviously stepped from the thicket behind him.  He didn’t seem to notice the dozens of cars whizzing past.

Unfortunately, dusk was rapidly approaching and the deer was a gray-brown — standing on gray-brown grass, in front of a gray-brown thicket.

A Recipe for an Accident

No one plans to hit a deer!  Because deer weigh between 88 and 275 lbs. (40 – 125 kg.),  this is an impediment no one wants to find in the road!

However, striking a deer in the road is an all-too-common type of traffic accident!

Driving in the Deer’s Habitat

The most common month for deer-vehicle accidents is in November.  There are two main reasons for this:  deer are busy breeding (the “rut”) and the pressure of hunters (causing deer to move more).

However, this is January, not November.  Because it has been so bitterly cold here, I’m sure the wildlife has been just as stunned by the cold as we have.

This young deer was out enjoying the warm day and noshing on some patches of grass.  Frankly, I wouldn’t have dreamed that this land (so close to Houston, TX) would be a deer habitat.  But it was: the thicket was on the south edge of Clear Lake.

Safety Tips to Avoid Deer

  • The two high risk periods of the day are dusk and dawn.
  • If you see one deer on or near the road, the chances of there being more deer nearby are very high.
  • If possible, drive with your high beams on — to shine on the eyes of the deer.  This will give you more time to respond.
  • As awful as this sounds: Do not swerve to avoid hitting a deer!  The animal could still leap clear at the last second.  If you swerve into the place where he was going to leap, where does he go?
  • In a deer-vehicle accident, it is critical for the driver to keep control of the car.

There are countless stories of everyone in a car being killed, trying to avoid hitting a deer in the road. The deer almost always dies anyway.

It may seem callous, but the only way to save the humans involved is to keep control of the car.


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Published in: on January 20, 2010 at 8:33 am  Comments Off on Tragedy on the Road: When a Deer Hits a Car!