Every Fall the number of accidents caused by collisions with deer populations has risen. For the past 5 years West Virginia has been the hardest hit but other states with similar agriculture and high deer populations see very similar numbers.
Since deers have a high center of gravity… meaning very thin legs and heavy bodies when the average passenger car comes into contact the deer will slide over the vehicle’s hood and directly into the windshield. Additionally since contact with its legs is not enough to trigger your airbag sensors in many cases the occupants get crushed by the body weighing hundreds of pounds.
This makes hitting a deer one of the worst accidents that you can get into. Even larger pickups and SUVs will sustain a large amount of damage and may cause secondary impacts as the driver loses control and crosses the center line or veers off the road into a stationary object.
If you have never had an accident with a wild animal you can count yourself as very lucky because it happens much more often then even a tow truck operator might realize. With all of this in mind here are some tips that may help if you are about to have an accident with a deer and also how to avoid one.
Deer keep the same scheduled as we do. They are most active during rush hour traffic in the morning and at sunset. This is because they need to travel to areas where they can find food. Be especially careful at this time of day.
If you live near corn fields be especially careful. Deer seem to love corn and they will move between fields for the food and wooded areas for sleep. Streams and water such as ponds are another area to be alert.
Always wear your seat belts. Remember if you hit a deer it will come through your windshield. You may try to duck at the very last moment but do not panic and lose control of your car.
Don’t try to avoid the deer unless you are on a multi-lane highway with lots of open room. Never drive into the apposing lane of traffic. Always keep your peripheral vision open to areas of safe soft impacts. HOWEVER even a small ditch can cause your car AND PICKUP TRUCKS to overturn so be very careful.
Use your brakes and slow the car rather then trying to out drive the deer. They are wild and unpredictable.
Flash your high beams to break the attention of the Deer. Sometimes they lock onto your headlights and become frozen. This is because animals will stay still so predictors cant see them.
Honk your horn but do not rely on deer sirens that are mounted on bumpers. They are pretty useless.
If you do hit a deer
If you are unlucky to hit a deer you should first assess your condition. If you and your passengers are not injured and you can safely move the vehicle to the side of the road do so.
If you can not move the vehicle and are uninjured then turn on your emergency flashers and walk off the road and back about fifty yards in the direction you came in. If another car happens to hit your vehicle it will continue traveling down the road.. You want to be off the road and behind it. Also you may be able to Alert other drivers but do not get near traffic.
Call for emergency help. Don’t first call home or a tow truck. The 911 operator will dispatch a police officer and they can call a tow truck for you if you do not live in the area and know a service.
Be alert. Driving at any time of year at any time of day in most locations around the country can mean things, animals, people can unpredictably come into your path.
Most of the time you will be lucky but all you have to do is drive by your local Autobody repair center to see all of the people who weren’t.
Be alert… don’t drink.. don’t talk on your cellphone even if you have hands free devices and pull over to the side of the road any time that a passenger either human or pet causes havoc in your vehicle.. don’t try to calm situations while you are still driving.