On the way to work one day this week one of our employees hit a deer. He was driving down a two lane highway at about 5:00am when his wife said; “deer.” To which he answered; “yes honey.” She said “DEER!”, and pointed at the several deer running out of the woods on the right side of the road. To which he answered; “OOOOH!”, hit the brakes and veered left. The buck’s head hit the passenger side headlight and then the body wrapped around and hit the passenger door causing a pretty good dent in the door.

Tactics to Avoid Deer Accidents                                                    DeerCrossBuck

When you see the road signs, they’re not there for the tourists; they mean that the area you are traveling through is deer territory and that you need to take extra care. Deer and other wildlife cross roads for a wide variety of reasons and at different times of the year. Often they want to get to another part of their habitat. Rutting season and hunting season also cause them to move. November is one of the most active months for deer movement.

Deer are most active at night and just before sunrise. Use your high beams when driving at night, it allows you to see them easier. If you see one deer, there’s likely to be more, so SLOW DOWN at the first sight to avoid accidents. Deer get confused and blinded by your headlights, so don’t assume that it sees you and will not cross your path. Most deer are looking right at the car when they cause an accident.

Actively scan the sides of the road for any signs of wildlife as you drive. If you have passengers, get them involved but ask them not to shout out as this is very startling and can cause the driver to react incorrectly. Ask them to gently tell you that they see deer. Look on the road sides, the shoulders, down into ditches (they love the grass there) and median strips. Watch both sides of the road.

Do not speed when you are driving through deer country. You’ll still arrive if you go more slowly and you’ll have more time to avoid an animal if you spot it. Wildlife experts have recommended 55 mph as a maximum suitable speed for wildlife zones in good weather conditions, as it provides you with some reaction time to stop.

If you spot a deer in the road, slow down immediately and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten it away. Most motorist deaths and injuries occur when drivers swerve to avoid hitting the deer and strike a fixed object, such as a tree or another vehicle. It may seem powerless, but simply applying your brakes while you’re buckled up, gripping the steering wheel with both hands, and coming to a controlled stop (if possible) can actually help minimize damage and injuries.

If you see that a car accident with a deer is unavoidable, do not swerve, brace yourself for impact and apply your brakes. Most accidents involving deer only leave minor cosmetic damage, however it can damage your radiator leading to overheating and serious damage to your motor. If you think your damage may be severe, use caution getting out to inspect, as an injured deer may regain consciousness and attack. Otherwise, drive a safe distance away, pull off to the side of the road, and then inspect. If your radiator is leaking fluid, turn your vehicle off immediately and have it towed to a garage.

Down The Road – Mike


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