8 Tips On How To Avoid A Car Collision With A Deer
Ever wonder why rustling leaves startles a deer but a speeding vehicle doesn't? That was the exact thought that entered my head today... AFTER I plowed through what I assume was a family of three of the forest rats. I missed the first one, but the second one had my name on it apparently. So, what can YOU do so that you can avoid the annoyance this causes and if need be, preserve your LIFE. Here's some tips...
#1 - Beware close to sunrise!
Deer are usually out in force searching for some breakfast anywhere between two hours before and two hours after sunrise. In my particular case, sunrise today is 6:50 and I pegged my deer a few minutes after 5am... CHECK. Why couldn't they have crossed that road at 4:50?? Of course I've hit a deer at nighttime too, but this is peak time.
#2 - They're in the city too!
Deer aren't just going nuts looking for food, they're also a bit randy as October through December is mating season for the little buggers. This month, November... CHECK. Apparently they're not happy enough with the selection in the woods that they have to wander into city limits looking for that perfect deer-companion. Well, this one found the bumper of my car which is sure to change his previously rosy complexion a little.
#3 - Drive like one could jump out at you any second.
Remember when you were told to drive as if the other guy (or animal) could do the unexpected at any time? My only problem with this is that the daily routine of commuting can lull you into well, just that. A ROUTINE. I was on my morning commute to work which I've done a zillion times before, so CHECK, but how am I supposed to literally drive on the defensive at all times. We drive so much that this defies logic really. Driving is just as much muscle-memory for most of us as putting a bite of food in your mouth. Bleh.
#4 - Don't swerve!
Okay, I'm happy to report that my swerve reflex didn't fire this time, either because I didn't have time to react or if I had, I would've hit the first deer to the left or ran into a tree or the third deer on the right, so CHECK. I also didn't brake because if I had, the third deer would've certainly slammed the side of my car and who knows, maybe come through the window. Crazy how all of this goes through your mind in a split second huh? If all else fails, hit the dang deer, especially if the road conditions are iffy.
#5 - Watch out for more deer.
Rare is the deer who travels by herself and just like humans, they usually travel in packs. CHECK. So, if you happen to see or hit the lead deer. Stop and wait until you're sure that the rest of the pack has either passed or is still in the brambles shaking their heads at their idiot peer.
#6 - Use your high beams.
Of course if you're traveling up north or something on the highway, it's natural to use your brights but I'm afraid I'm gonna ask for a pass because I was in city limits and although there was no oncoming traffic in my case, who uses their high beams in town due to it being well lit already? Well, now drivers aren't gonna like my right headlight which will now be pointing directly at them regardless. Sorry. ***pointing at the deer*** His fault.
#7 - Don't touch it.
If it's laying in the roadway and you're an animal lover or just out of decency, you may be tempted to get out of your car and go check on it's health. This isn't the best idea as it may still be alive and if so, can hurt you or further hurt itself in a panic. Remember it is still wild and that car protected you (hopefully) and it's best to keep your shields up.
#8 - Report it.
I was uninjured and my car was drivable and I had a morning radio show to plan for so I elected to keep on driving and I'll get to the claim when I get off the air, but it's usually a good idea to at least call the police so that they can be alert to a possible injured deer that like the previous step could wreak more potential havoc or so random homeowner knows why there's a full size deer taking the dirt nap on his lawn.
Somehow and to my girlfriend's amazement, I remain unrattled, calm and fortunate enough that events happened in the way that they did so that I can be writing to you, but be careful as the article from our sister station below indicates, people don't always walk away from deer-car accidents. Be careful out there and I hope these tips help. I've got a ninth tip for you. If you're not a hunter already, time to get that hunting license I think. Better to hunt deer proactively... With something OTHER than a car!