It’s a nice evening. Not much traffic on the road. You are a bit tired after a long drive and looking forward to that next RV park for the night. Suddenly, a deer darts across the road followed by two more. You saw the “deer crossing” sign, so you are alert. You brake and, thankfully, no collision.
You most likely have seen your share of critters in the road. Hopefully, you have avoided any unpleasant critter collision. However, be aware. There are certain times when you are more likely to encounter a deer crossing the road.
When is ‘prime time” for deer-vehicle collisions?
Collisions are more likely to occur at dusk or shortly afterward. In fact, the odds increase 14-fold during this time of day. In a study reported in Current Biology scientists reviewed over a million deer-vehicle collisions.
Additionally, they found that within 2 hours after sunset, when switching from daylight saving to standard time, collisions increased 16% more.
What are the costs incurred?
The study predicts that many deaths, both deer (36,550) and human (33), could be avoided by reducing the need for after-dark traffic. Plus, a year-round daylight saving time could help 2,054 folks dodge injuries sustained from a collision. All in all, savings could be in the $1.9 billion range.
How can you avoid deer-vehicle collisions?
Firstly, highway departments post deer crossing warning signs for a reason. Those denote that area is a known path for deer. Be particularly alert shortly after dusk up into later at night.
Secondly, remember deer travel in herds. Where there is one, there are more. That single doe that dashed across the road may soon be followed by a few friends. When you see one on the road a long blast of your horn may dissuade others from jumping in front of you.
Finally, use your high beam headlight setting. This will reflect a deer’s eyes more readily as they graze roadside. That gives you a chance to pay attention to the deer’s movement.
By the way, check with your insurance agent about coverage. Not all insurance companies will cover a deer-vehicle collision without certain provisions.
Stay alert and be safe out there, and, Happy Travels.
Photo: Caroline Legg, Lucky Escape, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0), retrieved 21 Nov 2022 from https://www.flickr.com/photos/128941223@N02/