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Texas tops charts for animal vs. vehicle collisions, raising concerns ahead of solar eclipse

Posted at 6:14 PM, Mar 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-01 19:14:36-05

WACO, Texas — In roughly a decade, 197 people died in Texas due to collusions with animals on roadways.

Texas ranked as number one for the most deaths by a state from 2012 to 2021, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The most recent data from Texas A&M Agrilife Extension said almost 10,000 vehicles were involved in crashes caused by animals, killing 26 people in 2022.

This is something that Texas A&M Agrilife Extension officials are monitoring as the eclipse gets closer.

Cindy Kovar is the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Silver Driver Safe Texans Program Manager.

"Nocturnal animals are expected to come out, and those that don’t keep their lights on automatically, don’t realize their lights are not on, Kovar said.

"It will be dark so quickly and they’ll be a traffic safety issue.”

To explore this more, 25 News took a tour through the Cameron Park Zoo’s nocturnal animal exhibit.

“Owls, bats, possums — that potentially is going to be enough to make them think that night time is either approaching or here," said Zoo Director, Brendan Wiley.

Wiley explained what the eclipse could mean to deer, because they like to roam early in the morning and at night.

"What they may hear as they experience that gradual darkening is they might hear noises of nights, whether that’s frogs and crickets," he said.

"We do wonder if that’s not enough to stimulate some activity maybe get them up thinking it’s night.”

He says it's unsure exactly how the eclipse will impact wildlife.'

“Take the time, experience the eclipse and if you do that then you don’t have to worry about animals on roadways."

What about our furry friends at home?

Wiley said if your pet gets anxiety during storms, give them a little extra comfort during the solar eclipse.

Dash-cam video courtesy of HD Fleet.