Monday night I was driving to Hampton to see if I could rent Iron Man for my 3 year old great nephew. I was on 105th street (Geneva blacktop), going about 50 miles an hour. It was 6:30 and just getting dark. I just passed the grove of trees West of the Old Stone House and was right by the gravel pit. This is deer season and I’m always vigilant – those buggers will run right out in front of you!
I topped the small hill and in a flash, there was a small doe stuck to my grill. Yes, I hit a deer. I saw her step onto the highway. If I swerved to the left, I would have hit her. If I swerved to the right, I would be in a ditch – and at night, it looked like a steep ditch. I just ran smack dab right into her. Then I put on the brakes.
My grill, framework, radiator and hood are done for. I drove the one mile home (did a U turn, prayed all the way) with screeching noises waking up all the animals in the wilds of rural Geneva. I can’t open the hood, the deer bent that under. I have antifreeze on the ground. My old beloved 91 Caddy is probably going to be retired. Dang it.
I called the Sheriff’s office and reported the accident. If you believe you have over $1,000 in damage you need to do that. The dispatcher told me I was the third person calling with a deer meets car call – and she had only come on at 2 pm! Because I left the scene, and the deer was off the road – they would not be coming out.
Here’s the thing – the week of Veterans Day I read an article at associated content: ten tips for save driving during deer season. I remembered in that split second that I should not swerve the car, don’t brake at impact and to look out for more deer. I also had my seat belt on, I always wear it. Also – be sure to keep your cell phone on your body (in a pocket, clipped to your belt, for example). A crash can throw that phone to a spot you may not be able to reach if you become injured!
How lucky am I? I was not injured, I didn’t go in the ditch, no one else was hurt. My car can be replaced. I can’t! Here’s that article. When you’re driving outside of town this deer season – be prepared!
Ten Tips for Safe Driving During Deer Season
by Dennis Buenger
1. Drive with extreme caution in areas where deer crossing signs have been posted.
2. Be mindful of the high risk time periods – dusk and dawn.
3. If you see one deer on or near the road, expect that there will be more.
4. Do not just rely on high-beam headlights and deer whistles to deter deer – they may not have the desired effect.
5. When possible, drive with high-beam headlights as they will illuminate the eyes of the deer and give you maximum response time.
6. Wear your seat belt and drive at a safe speed.
7. Do not swerve your vehicle to avoid hitting a deer. That may sound strange, but if a collision with a deer is probable, it is more important to maintain control of your vehicle.
8. Some experts say that in the event you are headed for a collision, you should avoid braking at impact (makes the front of the car go down) so that the deer is more likely to pass under the car, as opposed to hitting the windshield. This would not preclude braking before impact.
9. Report any deer-vehicle collisions to local authorities.
10. Stay alert, awake and sober. Deer are often unpredictable, especially when frightened, and you will need your quickest response time.