Deer are a fact of life in the Baltimore area and the suburbs during the winter time. When driving on country roads this winter, it’s important to keep an eye out for deer. According to studies, 1.6 million collisions involving deer occur every year, resulting in 200 fatalities, thousands of injuries, and over $3.6 billion in vehicle damage. Here are some tips to help you avoid hitting a deer this winter.
Deer Travel in Packs
Deer rarely travel alone, so if you see one cross in front of you on the road, chances are that there are more nearby. Slow down and keep your eyes peeled for the rest of the pack darting around and across the road.
Deer are most active at daybreak and at dusk. These are the times of the day when your vision is most compromised. In addition, this time of the year is the mating season when they are on the move the most. And since you’re more likely to travel after the sunset during the winter, slow down and stay alert while on the road.
Wear Your Seat Belt
While seat belts won’t prevent collisions, they will protect you and reduce the chance of injury in case one does happen. This is especially the case if you lose control of your vehicle after hitting a deer and slide into something bigger and more stationary. Buckle up every time for safety.
Pay Attention to Signs
Road signs will mark out especially highly trafficked areas for deer – these are the yellow diamonds with the deer on it. Their eyes also reflect the light from a car’s headlights making them easier to spot.
The Center Lane is the Safest
On a multi-lane road, the center lane is the safest place to be to avoid a collision with a deer. If your local laws permit it, stick to this lane. This will give the deer plenty of space and allow you more time and space to react if one does find its way onto the road.
If you see a deer, brake firmly and stay in your lane calmly. Do not swerve to try and avoid hitting it as you may lose control of your vehicle (especially if there is winter precipitation). Worse yet, you may swerve directly into the deer’s changed path.
Use Your Horn if Needed
Some experts say that one long blast of your horn is enough to scare deer off of the road, so use this if needed.
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