SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - They're the driving danger that give you little, if any, time to react. When cars hit deer, it doesn't take much to go from a crunched fender to something much worse.
The fall months are active ones for deer and with more than 150,000 miles of state roads, odds are you'll see one or two. Statistics over a four year time period show the danger. Texas leads the nation significantly with 88 animal involved accident deaths.
At his body shop, Chip Owens says during the fall nearly a third of all incoming vehicles have hit deer. "You're real lucky if it does not go through the car or the windshield because they will do that and that's when people get hurt," said Owens.
That's nearly exactly what happened to Michigan teen Barbara Barnick, when a car hit a deer, and threw the animal into her minivan, killing the 17 year old.
Most active at night, the fall mating season brings the most deer near civilization. "During the mating season these bucks will start running these deer," said Game Warden Chris Green,"There's more people in the woods that are pushing these deer out."
New roads put deer in a new habitat where safety concerns leave drivers with few options. "It's better to go ahead and hit the deer," said Green."Running off the road and maybe flipping your vehicle or hitting a tree boy that's going to be a lot worse than hitting that animal."
If your instinct tells you to swerve insurance agents say don't for your wallet's sake. Instead of hitting a deer you may end up hitting a fence, tree or another driver. The accident could be filed as a collision claim, bringing a higher deductible and added charges to your policy.