If you have ever hit a deer while driving, you know how scary it is. I hit one several years ago, and the impact was frightening.

It was autumn, and nighttime when I was driving home between Longview and White Oak, the time a deer crossed my path. I was lucky to have barely hit the animal, and though my vehicle sustained damage, I was not hurt.

Deer are more active this time of year, and the likelihood of hitting one increases. For the past 15 years, State Farm has conducted a study on driving damages inflicted by deer.

Thankfully, Texas did not crack the Top 10, but here are some things to keep in mind in order to avoid a collision with one. State Farm advises:

  • Slow down, particularly at dusk and dawn.
  • If you see one deer, be prepared for more deer to cross the road.
  • Pay attention to deer crossing signs.
  • Always buckle up - every trip, every time.
  • Use your high beams to see farther, except when there is oncoming traffic.
  • Brake if you can, but avoid swerving. This can result in a more severe crash.
  • Remain focused on the road. Scan for hazards, including animals.
  • Avoid distractions. Devices or eating might cause you to miss seeing an animal.
  • Do not rely on products such as deer whistles. They are not proven effective.
  • If riding a motorcycle, always wear protective gear. Keep focus on the road ahead.