The Do's and Don'ts of Avoiding Collisions with Deerplanning ahead // on Thursday November 3, 2016
October through December is my favorite time of year, hands-down. Sweater weather, fall and holiday festivities, and quality time with my out-of-town family are just a few reasons why. One thing I don’t love about this time of year, however, is the possibility of meeting a deer on the road – nearly half of all vehicle accidents involving deer occur from October to December. I’ve had a few close calls that have left me white-knuckled and shaky, and I know I’m not alone. While there’s no way to prevent encounters with deer on the road, it’s possible to reduce the risk of a collision. Keep these pointers in mind.
DO know your surroundings. Be especially alert and cautious near fields and heavily wooded areas, where deer tend to congregate. Take deer-crossing signs seriously. When possible, avoid driving between dawn and dusk when deer tend to be active – and when most collisions happen. (If you can’t avoid those times, avoid routes near deer-heavy areas.)
DON’T get distracted. You shouldn’t be using your phone, eating or grooming while driving, anyway. Focus your attention on your surroundings. Look far down the road in front of you and scan the roadsides from left to right. Remember: Deer travel in packs, so if you see one, chances are there are more nearby.
DO improve your visibility. Clean windows and windshields can help minimize sun glare and improve night vision. When there’s no oncoming traffic, using your high-beam lights can also help you see better in the dark – the beams will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway. If you spot a deer, don’t blink or flash your lights. This can frighten the animal and cause sudden movement.
DON’T swerve. If you encounter a deer on the road, slow down. If a collision can’t be avoided, you may be better off brushing the animal at an angle while maintaining control of your vehicle. Swerving and oversteering can cause you to drift into oncoming traffic, roll into a ditch, or hit a tree or other object.
DO use common sense. Wear your seat belt and make your passengers buckle up, too. Drive at a safe speed.
Hitting a deer is one of the last things anyone wants to experience this time of year. Using caution and common sense and staying calm (as calm as possible, that is) can help you avoid this. Remember, every second matters when you meet a deer on or near the road.
SOURCE: “Avoiding Vehicle Accidents with Deer,” GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC.