How to Avoid Hitting a Deer

by Wayne
(Suburban Maryland)

I've always been of the opinion that people hit deer because they are driving too fast and don't notice them when they run across the highway. My strategy to avoid hitting deer had been to keep an eye out in the evenings, and when I saw one of the animals by the side of the road, slow down until I was sure it saw me.

Surely if a deer noticed my car barreling down the highway, it would act out of self-preservation and move away, right? Or if it didn't actually move away from the road, at least it would be smart enough to remain out of my path. One would think years of evolution would at least ensure that much!

Unfortunately, I learned a lesson the other night. Here it is: deer are stupid.

I saw the deer off to the right of the road, and I saw it notice my car. I slowed down, and I could see it make up it's mind that it needed to move. What possessed it to think it could cut across the road in front of my car I have no idea.

The deer badly miscalculated. It wasn't even close. It hit the near fender and bounced off. It rolled over a couple times--I saw it in my headlights--and then got up and ran away, hopefully having learned a lesson of its own. Me? Well, I had slowed down enough that the damage was limited to the bumper and one fender, but the total repair bill still came to $1700.

Here is my new strategy to avoid hitting a deer. When I see one in the vicinity of the road, I'm going to stop and wait. If I have to honk my horn or even get out of the car and wave at it to make it move away, that's what I'll do. Once it's away and the road is clear, I'll move forward. Until then...well, there's no banking on the deer's native intelligence and instinct for self preservation to keep it off of my bumper...

This reader's submission is approved for informational purposes only. We are unaware of any fool-proof way of avoiding a collision with a deer, short of not driving at all.

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