Posted on September 23rd, 2015 by Zane Cagle
If you live in a rural area, you never really forget about the possibility of deer crossing the highway, but those of us who live in more urban areas tend to forget. Fall is the time that deer tend to be more on the move due to it being mating season and hunting season.
Deer season begins in Missouri and Illinois in mid-September and then gun season follows later in the fall. It is also the time of year that vehicular crashes with deer increase dramatically.
Oct, Nov and December–Most Dangerous Time for Deer-Vehicular Crashes
Due to deer migration and mating season, deer on more on the move than any other time of the year. Deer populations are growing and their habitats are being displaced by urban sprawl.
While reducing your speed in rural areas is always a good idea when it comes to deer, you should always be on the lookout. If you’ve lived and traveled in the country much, you know that if you see one deer, you will likely see several more together. According to statistics, the number of deer-related crashes may continue to rise because of more drivers are on the roadways as of the first half of 2015. Increased miles traveled raises increased risks of hitting deer.
Best Advice According to Experts
Experts agree you should do several things to avoid serious damage and injury:
1. Slow down– Just as you would slow down for inclement weather such as ice or snow, slow down in areas where deer are plentiful. Predicting deer behavior is impossible. They may dart out in front of your vehicle or just stand in the roadway.
2. Do not Swerve–That may seem like strange advice as our natural tendency is to swerve to miss anything that is in the roadway, however, if you cannot avoid the deer and it is directly in your path, troopers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol say it is often more safe to “drive through the animal” rather than swerve. Swerving causes veering and loss of control.
3. Keep Your Attention on the Roadway – be attentive and use high beams at night when there is not oncoming traffic. High beams help illuminate the eyes of deer and make deer more visible.
4. If you Cannot avoid the deer, apply the brake and hit the deer, The Missouri Department of Conservation recommends applying the brake and striking the deer. While it sounds counterintuitive, often a driver’s first instinct can work against him or her. “What we see a lot is, people see a deer, and their natural reaction is to jerk the wheel to avoid the deer,” said Angle. “What ends up happening is they’ve traveling off the roadway and a lot of time and doing more damage to their vehicle or injuring themselves in the secondary accident” said Angle.
Swerving and losing control of one’s vehicle can result in serious injury and death to occupants. Swerving can result in head-on collisions with oncoming traffic, running off the road and striking an object such as a tree or even flipping the vehicle. While no one wants to hit a living thing, it is better to sacrifice the deer and possibly some property damage instead of seriously injuring people.
If you have been involved in any type of motor vehicle accident, you may need legal assistance. Consultations are always free and confidential.