Has this ever happened to you?
It’s fall. You are on your way back home from work and the sun has already disappeared into an orange orb melting in the far horizon. Lost in thought about what you are going to fix for dinner, suddenly, you catch movement out of the corner of you eye. BAM! A deer darts out in front of you. Your heart lurches in your chest. If you are lucky, you can stop your vehicle before it and Bambi’s cousin have a nasty meeting in the middle of the road.
So, what is the likelihood this will happen to you? Ohio has eight million drivers, 121,000 miles of roads and an estimated population of 750,000 deer. At some point, especially if you drive through any heavy wooded areas, even in the suburbs, you are going to encounter a deer.
Deer-vehicle crashes in Ohio have occurred in numbers over 20,000 every year since 1994. From 2000 – 2008, those crashes resulted in an average of 7 fatalities and 1217 injuries each year. Even if a person makes it out of the collision unscathed, his vehicle may not be so lucky. The dollar amount of vehicular damage rings in at an average of $3,000 per incident.
Instead of becoming part of the sad statistics, drivers can learn about the behavior of deer to up their chances of avoiding an accident:
• The Ohio Insurance Institute has reported that deer-vehicle collisions spike from October to January, which is the height of deer mating and migration season. So, during this part of the year, be extra careful!
• Watch for deer especially at dawn and after sunset. (20 percent of crashes occur in the early morning hours and over 50 percent occur between the hours of 5 p.m. and midnight.)
• Watch for posted deer crossing signs and drive with extreme caution in those areas.
• If you have actually seen a deer previously in a particular location, even if it is not a posted deer crossing area, slow down and be careful there. Deer are habitual creatures and are likely to be seen close to that same spot, again.
• After dark, use your high-beam headlights, when appropriate, to help illuminate deer eyes.
• Always wear seat belts and drive at a speed that is safe and reasonable for the road conditions.
• If you use prevention devices such as deer whistles, do not become complacent. Always keep a watchful eye out for deer.
• If you spot a deer while driving, look for others. Deer travel in groups. If you see one, there are probably more. Be prepared.
• Do not swerve your vehicle to avoid a collision with a deer. You could lose control of your vehicle or have an accident with another vehicle, possibly more severely injuring yourself or others.
• If you do have an accident, contact local law enforcement as soon as possible.
Keeping in mind these tips, should help minimize your chances of a surprise encounter with our “deer” friends of the “four-legged” variety. Stay Safe!!
Photo Credit: Deer Female Animal Head Public Domain Image Picture