7 Safe Driving Tips For Deer Season
You are all packed and ready to go on your first deer hunt of the new season. You’ve got everything you need: your hunting backpack, guns, ammo, and camouflage. As you start driving to your favorite hunting spot, you begin to think of the size of deer you could possible get to shoot today. However, as you drive, you should be thinking about what to watch for on the road. The roads are not as safe as you think.
The start of deer season also means that there are dangers of animals on the road. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), as the deer population continues to rise across the United States of America, there are over one and a half million deer-related incidents every calendar year. This is a staggering fact that affects hunters and their families.
Deer are the most common animal struck by moving vehicles. Three out of four accidents are caused by the deer population. Across America, these collisions between cars and deer cause an estimated $1.1 billion in damage, which have led to 150 people killed and 29,000 people are injured every year. So, do not be a statistic yourself and be extra cautious whenever you are on the road.
Most of the time, these accidents with deer occur on roads in rural countries where the speed limit is over fifty-five miles per hour (mph). Also, most accidents occur at dawn, dusk, or in complete darkness, causing drivers to be less aware of their surroundings. Sixty-percent of vehicle-animal accidents that include human fatalities are not caused by the deer itself, but because the passengers were not wearing their seatbelt. Seatbelts truly do save a person’s life.
More often than not, if a seatbelt is worn, the vehicle-animal accident will not be deadly. What comes next, like hitting a fixed object or another vehicle, due to the accident, are the reasons that these accidents can turn fatal.
"These crashes with deer happen during late fall, which is a big time for deer migration and breeding. Also, these crashes happen most during hunting season, which begins in mid-October and goes into mid-December. This is when the deer are most active out in the environment."
Some people believe that a whistle designed for deer or deer fences will keep these animals off the roads, but this does not always deter them from getting to where they want to go. Make sure that you stay alert for whatever comes your way. Currently, there is no consistent method to keep deer off the roads. Animal crossing signs are very helpful to keep you vigilant of the roadways at all times.
So, make sure that you remember these 7 Safe Driving Tips for Deer Season:
Make sure that you observe the roadways ahead of you. Watch for any reflection that might come from your car lights onto a deer’s eyes. Notice any dark shades, in the distance, that look like a deer off any shoulder of road. Slow down immediately, even if you have any suspicion of deer being ahead of you. This will give you appropriate time to veer out of the way, by being a defensive driver. If you are unprepared, you might be in a collision.
With areas that you know have a huge deer presence, be diligent to slow down. Look for any noticeable deer signs, areas with road around fields of agriculture and forest, and forested areas during dawn or dusk. These are common areas where deers like to be present.
Remember: You will never know what a deer is going to do. At times, they might just decide to stop right smack in the middle of the road. Other times, they may cross and re-cross again to where they came. Furthermore, they might take risks, like approaching a moving vehicle. Do not assume that they will stay out of your way. Deer have a free mind of their own and will make questionable decisions that could affect your well-being and their own.
If a deer does run out in front of your moving vehicle, do not swerve out of the way. This will increase the risk of you losing control, or the chance of hitting another car on the road. Just because you have a literal “deer in the headlights” issue, does not mean that you should overcorrect, putting yourself or others in danger. In the end, it is better to hit a deer head-on with your vehicle than to swerve out of the way, causing worse injury to yourself.
A lot of times, as drivers, we believe if a deer has crossed the road, then we will not have to worry about them anymore. This is flawed logic indeed. Deer love to travel with other deer, and the presence of one should make you aware that more might be in the vicinity.
Use your high beams during the nighttime, if there are no cars coming from the opposite direction. This will help you to see deer better out in the distance. Then, you will have appropriate to time to slow down and correct your vehicle, if need be.
If you do have the unfortunate situation of striking a deer, make sure to report the accident to the local game commission or to any local law enforcement group. Wait until an agency arrives to walk you through any information that you need to know. You may have to call your insurance company, depending on the damage. Also, if your car is in worse shape than you thought, a tow-truck might be needed. A deer that is struck by a vehicle can be a danger to other vehicles driving in the area. Also, if the deer is still alive, do not go near the animal. Its sharp hooves could cause injury to you.
Finally, be extra cautious when you are out hunting this season. Do not forget your hunting backpack, drive slower than normal, and be aware and use your seatbelt. Now, go out there and enjoy the great outdoors. But, remember: Safety First!
Brandon Cox is the founder of StayHunting.com, who is passionate about all things of hunting and fitness. Through his hunting website, he would like to share tips & tricks, finest tech that will excite all of the intricacies of hunting whether you be an amateur or a professional.