Deer Accidents

By: Donald Robinson
By: Donald Robinson

Accidents involving motorists and deer this time of the year is nothing new to this area, that's why now is the time for drivers to be very cautious.

"I was coming across Rt. 262 and this buck jumped off the bank in front of me," said Willard Rankin of Staunton, "I hit him and killed him."

Rankin says he is a lucky man after his encounter with the adult buck. While he sustained about $900 in damage to his pickup truck, he's okay.

David Kocka of the Virginia Department Of Game And Inland Fisheries says 2/3 of car collisions with deer happen in the fall. He says deer are feeding to build up fat reserves for the winter and they're mating, which they only do once a year.

"So these things coupled together mean that there is just an increase movement of deer," said Kocka, "you have a higher chance of coming across deer while driving this time of year."

Deer are mainly active during daylight and dusk, so slow down. If a deer jumps out in front of you, don't swerve to avoid it. If you hit and injure or kill the deer, call the police. And if you want the deer you killed, let the police know so they can give you a possession tag.

Kocka says very few people are seriously injured or die from deer and car collisions.

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Tips to Avoid Deer on Roadways

  • Be vigilant in early morning and evening hours, the most active time for deer movement.

  • Use your high-beam headlights, which reflect in the deer’s eyes, to see the deer better.

  • Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away.

  • Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path. Do not swerve. It can confuse the deer as to where to run. It can also cause you to lose control and hit a tree or another car.

  • Be alert and drive with caution when you are moving through a deer-crossing zone.

  • Always wear your seat belt. Most people injured in car/deer crashes were not wearing their seat belt.

  • Look for other deer after one has crossed the road. Deer seldom run alone.
  • If your vehicle strikes a deer, do not touch the animal. The frightened animal, in attempting to move, could hurt you or itself. The best procedure is to get your car off the road, if possible, and call the police.
    Source: A compilation of Web reports contributed to this report.


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