Oh Deer, Tips for avoiding Deer Collisions.
Oh Deer, It’s That Time of Year Again in Massachusetts and Connecticut
The arrival of the cooler weather marks the return of cozy sweaters, shorter days, pumpkin-flavored everything and – if you happen to live in Massachusetts or Connecticut – deer mating season. While a welcome sight in your backyard, packs of deer are a big concern on the road. If becoming one of over a million drivers who are involved in deer collisions every year isn’t on your wish list, now is a great time to take a refresher course on accident prevention. Below is a quick rundown of what you need to know to stay safe behind the wheel all season long.
- Keep Your Eyes Open for More. Like most humans, deer love company. Frequently traveling in packs, their unpredictable numbers can instantly throw surprised drivers off track. If you spot a pair of antlers in the distance, assume that many more are hiding in the shadows.
- Check the Clock. Deer are especially active at sunrise and at dusk. That doesn’t mean you won’t see any earlier in the day or late at night, but that’s when you’re statistically the most likely to cross each other’s paths.
- Buckle Up. Hitting a deer is a serious business. To avoid life-threatening injuries, always wear your seatbelt, even if you’re just driving to the nearby grocery store. Since local back roads are quieter than highways, they’re more attractive to deer herds on the go, so it’s important to always be on alert no matter where you’re going.
- Find the Middle Ground. When you’re traveling on roads with multiple lanes, create an invisible buffer zone by merging into the middle lane. Because any stray deer will have to enter the roadway from one of the sides, driving in the center automatically gives you more time to react.
- Read the Road’s Sign Language. Now that deer mating season is about to be in full swing, paying attention to yellow diamond signs that designate common corridors for traveling deer is a safety must.
- Stay Calm and Collected. If you do see a deer, honk your horn and drop your speed as slowly as you can to avoid a collision with the driver behind you. Although swerving will probably be your first instinct, it can throw you off the road or right into the path of the fast-moving deer you were trying to avoid.
While following the tips above will decrease your chances of accidentally hitting a deer, they aren’t foolproof. Because collisions are sometimes unavoidable, you need to be prepared in case the unexpected happens. If you hit a deer, find a safe spot on the shoulder to assess the damage and call the police. As tempting as it can be to check on the deer, leave that job up to the pros. When hit, deer can become confused and aggressive, making the road conditions more dangerous for other drivers and putting you at risk for serious injuries.