How not to run into deer with your car and other driver’s ed fantasies

Why don't they just move the deer crossing signs to where it's safer for deer to cross?

Why don’t they just move the deer crossing signs to where it’s safer for deer to cross?

It’s rutting season again, and you know what that means. Bambi is contemplating something other than your approaching Honda, and you’re about to give him a Civic lesson that he’ll not soon forget…if he’s able to remember anything at all.

It’s something you are likely to remember as well. According to the Federal Highway Administration’s roadkill website, Critter Crossings (your tax dollars at work), the average deer/car collision results in $2,000 in damage to the vehicle. (This can be offset somewhat by recovery of the carcass, which in many states may be converted legally into deer sausage and other delicacies. Check your state’s appropriate agency).

Worse yet, the FHWA reports that about 200 “motorists” are killed annually when fauna meets fender. That’s not all deer hits, of course. Moose and bear are both heavier and, especially in the case of moose, anatomically more threatening to occupants of automobiles. Moose bellies are about hood height, and the typical moose/automobile crash results in Bullwinkle sitting in the car’s front seat…before the occupants have had a chance to exit.

Hitting deer with your car is, if not as deadly to humans, definitely inconvenient. There are the two body shop estimates, all the forms, the week or so that your car is in for repairs…and the explaining to your four year old why Bambi decided to sleep so close to the road.

So it’s time for a “service article,” as it’s known in the trade, on How to Avoid Turning Deer into Roadkill. We here at CarBuzzard have no particular expertise in the matter, but that hasn’t stopped us before. Herewith follow simple Rules as good as you’ll read anywhere:

Rule Number One: Don’t hit the deer.

Rule Number Two: There is no rule number two.

Now for some Advice: “Experts” say to be especially alert from dawn to dusk because that’s when deer are most active. Yeah, right. Deer eat almost continuously, and cross the road to eat your flowers after eating our flowers at any time of the day.  And as mentioned, this time of year bucks want to do something else continuously. So be “especially alert” from midnight to noon, and then from noon to midnight. These are otherwise known as the Deer Danger Hours.

If you’ve seen one deer, you haven’t seen them all. Deer belong to clubs and they frequently go meetings on the other side of the road. There’s always one who’s running late. So when you see the club meeting on one side of the road, watch out for Mr. Tardy.

“Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away,” advises the Insurance Information Institute. Slowing down: good idea. Blowing your horn: Dumb. Deer ignore it, and local residents consider it the same as urban dwellers do car alarms. Except the rural folks more likely have shotguns. And tourists are always in season.

If some cervine still goes suicidal, do not try to try to swerve around him. There are likely to be other club member right behind, and instead of the secretary, you’ll take out the sergeant-at-arms. Or the guy who brings the donuts.

Secondly, swerving to avoid the deer can put you in the woods, and only an IED is more deadly than hitting a mature oak at any speed faster than stop. Anyway, deer are like a NASCAR crash, as described by an old stock car vet who advised the rookie to steer towards the collision. By the time you get there, he said, the collision will be somewhere else. It’s the same with deer. Your car has brakes. See how well they work.

Just remember Rule Number One: Don’t hit the deer.