Tips For Avoiding Deer—Part Two

In my previous blog: “Tips For Avoiding Deer—Part One” I shared my deep disgust (perhaps too strong a word) for this time of the year–the weeks leading up to the gun deer season when displaced animals flee from their natural habitats to look for food among two-legged creatures. The move plagues drivers like me with the fear that a collision is inevitable.

The previous blog also told of the various deer/minivan/car collisions my family has experienced and provided a few tips on how to avoid deer run-ins with your own vehicle. Here are a few more tips:

If You See One Deer, Expect That There Are Others Nearby. According to the Animal Protection Institute, 70% of deer-car collisions result after the driver slowed down for one deer and then accelerated, failing to see another.

Avoid Driving During Certain Times Of The Day. I was taught that from an hour before sunset until midnight is the time when the most collisions occur, but frankly it’s my opinion that the hours around dawn are also risky. Basically, night driving during deer season is always risky. Deer are on the move more in fall and early spring, but in the summer they tend to sometimes be on the road during daylight hours.

Don’t Slam on the Brakes. I once interviewed a DNR warden who warned me never to slam on my brakes in the presence of deer. I was told sudden stops spook the animal, which could cause it to dart in the path of another vehicle. Instead it’s best to keep your lane position and sound your horn while braking in a controlled manner.

Do Not Try To Swerve Around A Deer. This is perhaps, the best tip I can offer. By swerving you could lose control of your vehicle and hit a tree or another vehicle – both are potentially much worse than hitting a deer. If you swerve, there’s also a chance that the animal will panic and run into your path. What’s more, if you swerve (which I did) in an attempt to miss a deer on an icy road (which it was), you are twice as likely to find yourself in a ditch (which is where I ended up) than had you simply eased up on the gas and remained on the road.

In the end, it’s much easier to anticipate deer encounters and be ready to react calmly than to deal with the costly expenses and, or injuries that come as a result of a collision.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.