These images are graphic, but should be looked at as a public service announcement about the dangers of a deer-and-vehicle collision.
I know firsthand the results of hitting a deer with a vehicle. Many years ago, while driving to work late at night, I collided with a mature whitetail buck on the highway. Luckily, the deer deflected off my left bumper and not up and in through my windshield, but damage to my pickup truck was extensive and pegged at $8,500. Fortunately, I walked away without a scratch. The deer was killed on impact.
According to a Facebook post, Nancy Kurtz had a collision with a whitetail deer on the night of December 11, but in her case, the deer was hit by another vehicle and thrown through her windshield. That is when things can get really dangerous. No one was killed in this accident, but as you’ll see from the images, it’s sheer luck the occupants were able to walk away.
“Santa’s reindeer came flying through our windshield last night! So lucky….. Thank you God!! A vehicle coming towards us hit the deer and the deer hit our windshield and landed in the backseat!”
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
Here are seven ways to prevent a deer collisions, courtesy of Geico. Study these. They may just save your life:
- Watch for the rest of the gang. Deer are pack animals and rarely travel alone. If a deer crosses in front of you, chances are there are more nearby. Slow down and keep an eye out for more deer darting across the road.
- Timing is everything. Deer are most active at dusk and dawn: periods when your vision is most compromised. To add to their terrible timing, deer are on the move during mating season (between October and January) when you’re more likely to travel after the sun sets. Slow down and stay alert, especially after dark.
- Wear your seat belt. It may not prevent a collision, but if the inevitable happens a seat belt can reduce injuries. This is especially true if you lose control and collide with something bigger, and more stationary than a deer.
- Take a moment to reflect. First, look for the road signs. The yellow diamonds with the deer on it are placed in high-traffic areas for deer. You may also spot a deer because their eyes will brightly reflect a car’s headlights, making them easier to spot.
- Stay Center. On a multi-lane road, the center lane is your safest bet for avoiding a deer collision, as long as your local traffic laws permit it. This gives deer plenty of space; and in case your vehicle does startle them, it gives you more time to react if one darts onto the road.
- Stay the course. If you see a deer, brake firmly and calmly, and stay in your lane. Swerving could make you lose control of your vehicle and turn a bad situation much worse. Not to mention, deer are unpredictable, and you could swerve directly into their changed path.
- Honk! Some experts recommend one long blast of the horn to scare deer out of the road. Do not rely on hood whistles or other devices designed to scare off deer—studies have shown them to be largely ineffective at minimizing accidents.
Although deer pose a serious risk when on the roads, moose are another animal entirely. Check out what can happen when you hit one of these forest giants here.
Stay safe on the roads this season and be proactive. Vehicles can be replaced; lives can’t.
Photos Courtesy of Nancy Kurtz