According to national USA data on the website of Deer Crash (http://www.deercrash.org/) there were 223 people killed in 215 accidents last year. This is the highest number of deaths and accidents since 1994. This may not seem like a large problem when compared to other causes of death, but these can be prevented. I hit a deer with my car years ago. Thankfully it was a minor strike. I saw the deer and slowed down. I hit the deer, and it flew thirty feet and got up and ran off. I reported the accident when I got to a location with a phone, but the deer was never found. I did no damage to my truck.
As a safety professional, I have also investigated accidents involving deer strikes. I have investigated accidents where the deer ran into the side of a four-door ¾ ton pick-up truck and a Dodge Ram hit a deer head on. In both cases, the deer was killed by the violence of the crash. Also in both cases, the vehicle sustained severe damage that was beyond repair. Over the years, I have also spoken to several drivers who swerved to miss the deer only to roll the vehicle into a ditch or strike another vehicle coming from the opposite direction. Although striking the deer seems like a bad choice it is better than swerving.
There are steps that can be taken to prevent the collision between a motor vehicle and a deer, which include:
- Being alert for animals entering the roadway when passing through heavily wooded areas, open fields, or along waterways.
- Reducing vehicle speed and driving cautiously during hunting season when deer are more active.
- Always wearing a seatbelt with children in appropriate child safety seats.
- If deer are near the road reducing vehicle speed and honking the vehicle horn might scare them away.
- If unable to avoid hitting the deer, don’t swerve. Drive straight into the deer.
- After hitting a deer don’t touch it. If it is still alive, it may be dangerous. Call the local police to report the accident.
I also recommend viewing the Deer Crash website to get further information. Get to know information that could save your life. It is also a great idea to share this information with teenage drivers who may not have experience responding to emergencies.