In the first half on the topic on avoiding deer hits, I wrote about my encounter with a deer last year. Following this incident, I have educated myself on a few precautions I could take to avoid hitting deer again.
- The risk of hitting deer is highest during sunset to midnight and sunrise and a few hours before sunrise. Deer are particularly active during the mating season, from late-October to mid-December. Hunters I have talked to disclosed that deer usually settle down during hot weather and walk around during rainy or cloudy conditions. Watch-out for deer during these times.
- Scan both sides of the road and watch for instances of reflection of your car’s headlight in the eyes of the deer. When there is no oncoming traffic, use high-beam headlights to broaden your field of vision and for better reflection of light in deer eyes.
- If possible, try to follow other vehicles. I believe deer exercise some caution and cross roads when they do not see vehicles on the road. Leave enough space between yourself and the vehicle in front of you to allow you enough braking distance in case the vehicle in front hits a deer. Similarly, ensure sufficient space between your vehicle and the vehicle behind you. This gives the vehicle behind you sufficient braking distance to prevent a rear-side crash.
- Deer usually travel in groups. If you see a deer, watch out for other deer that may be nearby.
- Look out for deer crossing signs in areas of high deer population. Slow down and be more vigilant.
- Do not swerve to avoid hitting a deer. Swerving increases the risk of a collision with a fixed object by the side of the road, of a collision with another vehicle on the road or of running off the road and flipping. Apply brakes, grip the steering wheel steadily and come to a stop if possible. If a collision becomes inevitable, hit the deer and maintain control of your vehicle.
- Deer whistles and other deer deterrent gadgets are commercially available. Supposedly, these whistles produce sounds of certain frequencies audible to deer that distract their attention and thus prevent them from coming into collision. I am not sure these devices are effective.