The other day I was driving along the interstate and saw a dead doe deer. A short distance later were her 2 fawns. It appeared that they were hit by traffic. Hunters and wildlife lovers hate to see this. So do Insurance companies.
It is estimated that well over 30 million deer are killed by vehicle impacts annually. Deer are about 4-5 feet tall and weigh over a few hundred pounds. That’s a big target that seems to be unseen. Over 20 drivers are killed annually due to deer strikes. This doesn’t include the bird strikes, cattle, livestock, elk, moose, dogs, and herds of other potential critter targets.
How can we avoid costly and deadly animal collisions? Many deer and big critter impacts can be avoided or prevented. Fencing can keep the critters from wandering if it is maintained and high enough. A deer can easily jump over an 8 foot or higher fence. Once the critters are in the roadway, they often panic.
Here are some tips to reduce deer impacts.
Speed Kills. Maintain a safe but manageable speed. If a critter ends up in the roadway, this will give you time to slow, maneuver, or stop.
Be Observant! If you are playing with your cellphone, tuning the radio, or taking your eyes off the road, you are inviting an accident.
Try some Deer Whistles! Now I know everyone says they do not work but… My daughter was an ace at hitting deer with her car. After I added some Deer Whistles to her front bumper, she has avoided deer for over a decade! When the deer hear you coming, they seem to stop and get out of the way.
Where there is one… Critters move in herds, coveys, and groups. Anticipate more than one to avoid multiple impacts.
Be Bright! High beam lights will shine further and allow more warning. Deer and critter eyes will often reflect light to give you a heads up.
Prime Time Most critter impacts happen in the low light of mornings and evenings. Be more alert. Hunting and mating season have way more critter movement.
Curvy swervy! Country roads go through critter land. Roads follow contours and are less straight. Slow down and look out!
Seeing is Believing. When you see a critter, avoid swerving. You may hit another car or lose control. Beep the horn, and slow down smoothly. Don’t accelerate.
No matter where you drive, animal encounters and impacts are likely. Knowing what hazards are in the area is important. Be a student of the driving risks and you will safely arrive at your destination without bumps, bruises, blood, and guts on your ride.
No bumper cars please.