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Deer In The Headlights

We provide car insurance nationwide, and we are starting to see an abnormal up-tick in the numbers of deer, moose, & antelope collisions.  So, I looked for ways to avoid these collisions and found the following on WikiHow.  These animals can lay down a big hurt on you & your car; here are some tips on how to steer clear of the deer:

 Collisions occur most often in prime moose or deer habitat such as forested areas, waterways, etc. When you see the road signs, they're not there for the tourists; they mean that the area you are traveling through is moose or deer territory and that you need to take extra care. They will cross roads like anyone else.

  • ·Do not speed when you are driving through moose or deer country. You'll still arrive if you go more slowly, and you'll have more time to avoid an animal if you spot it. Wildlife experts have recommended 55 mph as a suitable speed for wildlife zones in good weather conditions, as it provides you with   additional reaction time to stop. Of course, in heavy rain and other difficult weather, you should adjust your speed to the distance you are able to see. 
  • Be prepared to take evasive action, which includes being able to quickly slow down, brake suddenly or turn down blinding headlights. Drive so that you are able to stop within the space of your headlights; practice this in a safe area if you don't know how fast this is for your vehicle.
  • Make sure your seat belt is on and check that all passengers are wearing theirs as well. A sudden lurch could have people catapulting from the car.
  • Actively scan the sides of the roads as you drive for any signs of wildlife. If you have passengers, get them involved but ask them not to shout out as this is very startling and can cause the driver to react incorrectly. Ask them to gently tell you that they see moose or deer lurking about. Look on the road sides, the shoulders, down into ditches (they love the grass there), median strips, intersecting roads, on the road itself and try to spot any signs of movement.
  • Be especially wary at sunset and sunrise.  Deer and moose seem to move most in the hours around sunset to midnight and again around dawn. These are also the hardest times for our eyes to adjust to the light (it's neither completely dark nor properly light), so we find it more difficult to see well. If you don't feel alert or can't see properly at these times, save your trip for another time
  • At night, use your high beams where possible, center your car in the roadway, drive slower, and scan the sides of the road for the reflection of their big eyes!
  • Slow down when other cars are behaving differently.  If you see flashing lights (hazard or headlights), hear tooting horns or see people waving madly about, slow down and be ready to stop! Of course, if a car stops suddenly ahead of you, you should also stop or at least slow right down. In these situations, the other cars may well have stopped because animals are already crossing the road ahead of you.
  • You've just driven into the outskirts of town, so everything is safe now, right? Wrong! Moose and deer wander into towns and city outskirts in search of food. They could be munching away on the median strip or bolting from someone's front garden. Still drive carefully. When you do come across a deer or a moose, don't expect them to react rationally. Blasting horns, flashing lights and a swerving metal machine are likely to terrify the animal witless and it will more than likely dart into your way rather than out of it. Bucks have been known to charge a stopped or moving cars of any size
  • Know when NOT to swerve. If you suddenly have a deer before your car, brake firmly. Do not swerve and leave your lane; many accidents are not due to colliding with the deer but are the result of driving into another car or truck in the opposite lane while trying to avoid the animal. The best thing to do is drive defensively in the first place and go slowly enough that you won't collide with a moose and can brake in time.
  • Honk your horn when you see a deer near the road!  This is the most effective way for deer to know where the car is coming from and heading to. Their instincts should do the rest.

 Diminish the impact if it is inevitable.

If an accident with a deer or moose is inevitable, here are some suggestions for lessening the impact:

  • Shift your line of eyesight to another spot - don't look at the animal or you'll steer that way;
  • Try to skim rather than fully impact the animal. Brake firmly, angle the car/truck and take your foot off the brake as you impact. The release of the brake will cause slight lift of the vehicle and this may be enough to stop the animal from rising into your windshield if your vehicle is tall enough.
  • If you're heading into a collision with a moose or deer, lean toward the door pillar. In the Myth busters where they tested this, the center of the car was completely crushed in every impact but the triangle by the door pillar was intact in each accident. No guarantees are offered; you are far better off avoiding the collision.

Take care after a collision with a deer or moose.

There are some important steps to take after assessing if everyone has survived okay:

·        Pull over if possible. Put your hazard lights on and if you can, put the headlights onto the animal or as close as possible.

  • Check passengers for injuries and treat accordingly. Even if there are no injuries, shock will probably occur fairly quickly. Try to reassure one another and if it is cold, put on warmer clothing immediately as shock or fear increases the inability to ward off cold. If it is winter, stay in the car for warmth.
  • Avoid going near the animal; it may kick or gore you from fear and pain. If it blocks the road, use your hazard lights and headlights and keep your car stationary. Only attempt to move the animal if you are 100% certain that it is dead.
  • Use road flares or triangles if you have them.
  • Call the police immediately or flag down help.

 We love our deer, moose and other wildlife.  Hopefully, you will not hit one.  Several years ago I nearly did, when our family was much younger.  We had a situation where the deer was literally stuck “in the headlights” (its eyes reflecting the light), and we just braked as well as we could but went straight at it – and it moved away in the nick of time.  These tips will work if you remember them!



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