Higginbotham offered the following guidelines for reducing the risk of deer or hog collisions:

  • Stay alert and slow down, particularly when driving between dusk and dawn for the animals are nocturnal.
  • Don't relax after a deer passes the road ahead of you without incident. Deer travel in groups. It is not the one you see that's the problem, it is the ones following it.
  • At night, travel behind another vehicle at a safe distance but where you can easily see the car in your headlights. Allow the car in front to run interference for you, Higginbotham said.
  • Deer and hog crossing signs are there for a reason; pay attention to them.

The damage of a hog or deer collision isn't always confined to the animal and the vehicle, Higginbotham said. A 2007 study by John Mayer, Washington Savannah River Company, Aiken, S.C., and Paul Johns, Carolina Wildlife Consultants, found that during a 38-year period on the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, 6 percent of the accidents caused human injuries.

"It's very much a human-health issue," Higginbotham said.

rd-burns@tamu.edu