How to Avoid Deer Car Collisions on Rural Roads


| 7/6/2011 10:00:12 AM


Tags: how to avoid hitting a deer, hitting a deer, car deer crashes, deer car collisions, car deer collisions, deer and car collisions, , Victoria Gazeley,

Deer and vehicleColliding with a deer in your car is not an experience I recommend. But in most cases, it's entirely avoidable if you keep in mind 5 simple tips. Except in my case. Here's that story.

In November of 2009 I was driving my son to his carpool on a cold, rainy, rather dark morning in my teensy, tiny little car (picture 6 inches off the ground and no front end ... modern little gas sipper).

There's this weird corner just down the road from us on the highway that's a 90 degree turn going uphill and banked oddly. As I entered the turn, and accelerated slightly to get us up and over the hill, something caught my eye at the right bumper - a deer coming up and out of the deep ditch.

With no shoulder on the road (and I mean none), neither the deer, nor we, had a chance. It all happened so fast.

You know those moments that are etched in your memory forever? The ones that no matter what you do, they never go away? This was one of those moments.



All I remember is the deer literally flying through the air, across the road, and into the ditch. And I'm sitting in a tiny, black, disabled car on a dark morning in a blind corner frequented by large, more often than not fast moving industrial vehicles (think fully loaded logging trucks). And my son was in the back seat.

ljaques
1/6/2018 9:08:46 AM

I'm sorry for your run-in with the deer, Victoria. I have been luck, living out in the sticks of rural southern Oregon, and have missed 5 deer in the past 16 years. Invariably, they'll wait until you're right there to move across the road. I, too, drive with headlights always on, and even in the daytime, their eyes will shine back to you if you're alert. While I haven't had an incident with anything larger than a squirrel, I used to work for an auto body shop. I only saw one deer/auto collision result, and it totaled the car, a little Datsun 210 (yes, I'm an old farte.) What I saw far more often (probably over a million dollars worth over the years) was a heavily damaged car from hitting a tree when the driver swerved to miss hitting an animal in the road. That's right, more people endanger their own lives, and the lives of their loved ones in the vehicle with them, to avoid hitting a turtle, bunny, squirrel, or cat. And while I try my darndest to avoid hitting one myself, I NEVER EVER SWERVE. Instead, I hit the brakes, keep my pickup on the road, and hope for the best. Deer almost never give you a chance to avoid them. They're not there one instant and right there in your path 8 feet in front of you the next. Youtube has many videos of this. Speaking of which, the many Russian dashcam videos show that drivers there swerve away from a simple accident with the car stopped in their lane directly into the opposite lane's traffic and get hit at a much higher speed. Like I said, NEVER SWERVE! At least we have fewer moose here. Many a Russian truck has been taken out by moose. Drive safely with eyes open, folks. Defensive driving is your best tool to stay safe and alive.


ljaques
1/6/2018 9:08:45 AM

I'm sorry for your run-in with the deer, Victoria. I have been luck, living out in the sticks of rural southern Oregon, and have missed 5 deer in the past 16 years. Invariably, they'll wait until you're right there to move across the road. I, too, drive with headlights always on, and even in the daytime, their eyes will shine back to you if you're alert. While I haven't had an incident with anything larger than a squirrel, I used to work for an auto body shop. I only saw one deer/auto collision result, and it totaled the car, a little Datsun 210 (yes, I'm an old farte.) What I saw far more often (probably over a million dollars worth over the years) was a heavily damaged car from hitting a tree when the driver swerved to miss hitting an animal in the road. That's right, more people endanger their own lives, and the lives of their loved ones in the vehicle with them, to avoid hitting a turtle, bunny, squirrel, or cat. And while I try my darndest to avoid hitting one myself, I NEVER EVER SWERVE. Instead, I hit the brakes, keep my pickup on the road, and hope for the best. Deer almost never give you a chance to avoid them. They're not there one instant and right there in your path 8 feet in front of you the next. Youtube has many videos of this. Speaking of which, the many Russian dashcam videos show that drivers there swerve away from a simple accident with the car stopped in their lane directly into the opposite lane's traffic and get hit at a much higher speed. Like I said, NEVER SWERVE! At least we have fewer moose here. Many a Russian truck has been taken out by moose. Drive safely with eyes open, folks. Defensive driving is your best tool to stay safe and alive.


med1pilot
1/5/2018 11:57:26 AM

I realize the writer is trying to help, but while some of these recommendations may slightly reduce your chances, there is nothing you can do to prevent animal vs auto accidents. Never driving after dark is impractical. Scanning is good, but an adult deer can run up to 30mph. That animal doesn't have to be far outside your peripheral vision to wind up in front of you with no warning. Doing the speed limit is good for many reasons, but see the previous comment for highway avoidance. Never swerve to avoid! I have responded to more injury and fatal accidents as the result of hitting other more solid objects while trying to avoid the animal. Deer are herd animals that rarely travel alone. If you see one crossing, or about to cross, you can be certain one or more are nearby, and possibly trying to keep up with the one you saw cross ahead. There is nothing you can do short of never driving again to guarantee not hitting a deer or other wild animal, but staying alert and driving defensibly will reduce your chances.







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