By on July 9, 2013

deer_in_road

The deer emerged from the forest and leapt into the roadway in a sudden swift movement. The sights and sounds of the busy two lane highway assailed the animal’s senses and drove it towards panic. In the opposite lane a car flashed by at close to 60 mph and the noise of its passing echoed off of the thick brush behind the animal. With threats from ahead and behind, the animal pivoted and fled up the roadway, running headlong into the white RAV4 which, despite the driver’s best efforts, was still traveling somewhere north of 50 mph when it struck the animal.

The small SUV’s bumper made contact first, knocking the deer’s legs out from under it and toppling its heavy body onto the hood. In a fraction of a second the car’s impact zones came into play, crumpling and folding to protect the vehicle’s occupants and absorbing much of the force of the collision. The nose of the Toyota bent downward and fenders bowed outward. The hood by either design or happy accident, I am not sure which, folded back in such a way that it covered the windshield and helped to protect the car’s occupants as the deer’s carcass slid up and over the top vehicle and onto the pavement behind. The RAV’s driver, a man in his late 70s who’s nerve damaged legs necessitated the use of hand controls in the car, fought for the control of the critically damaged vehicle and somehow managed to keep it out of a deep roadside ditch as the car juddered to a stop.

As is the nature of people small town America, a man appeared at the window to render assistance mere seconds after the accident. Others joined him and together they forced open the door and pulled the driver and his stunned wife, also in her 70s, from the car as the smoldering wreck burst suddenly and unexpectedly into flames. Traffic on the highway stopped and somewhere in the town just a mile or two behind the scene of an accident an alarm sounded and emergency responders rushed to their trucks. By the time they arrived on scene, the little white RAV was almost fully engulfed in flames. Black smoke changed to white steam as they played water on the fire and eventually the car was extinguished. As the two seniors were escorted away by family members who had rushed to the scene, they couldn’t help but wryly note that their little SUV looked more like a toasted marshmallow than the slick little car it had been just minutes earlier. It was a total loss.

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The above story is real and unfolded last Saturday on a rural highway that runs between Monroe and Snohomish, Washington. The driver was my stepfather, Guy, and his passenger was my mother. Both were totally unharmed but the RAV, which was a nice little car with just a few thousand miles on the clock, was hauled away to a storage yard and the insurance adjuster called. Fortunately my brothers and sister in the area can help out with basic transport until Guy can purchase another car and have it outfitted with the special controls he uses, but I am sure the accident has left them both shaken.

As a motorcyclist, I learned early on that any accident or any close call is an opportunity to learn better riding skills. Whenever the worst happens, or as is more often the case whenever I escape the worst by a hair’s breadth, I spend some time sitting down after the fact and thinking about what I might have done differently. I am sure my stepfather running through all the various scenarios in his mind right now and, given the unpredictability of an animal in the roadway, it would be easy to walk away thinking that what happened was unavoidable. But I think that would be wrong. Animals are thinking creatures and will generally behave in predictable ways if you know what they are responding to. That knowledge might not have avoided the accident altogether, but it might have mitigated the results.

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When I was about 18 years old, I was out on a deserted country road in my 74 Nova when a deer stumbled out of the forest and onto the roadway ahead of me. I was not going especially fast and I had sufficient time to slow my car down to around 15 miles an hour. As I closed on the animal, it moved out of my lane and I, thinking it was safe to pass behind the deer, began to accelerate again. As I closed the last few feet with the deer, now going about 20 mph, the deer suddenly turned and ran up the road away from me. I, being inexperienced, braked again but not hard enough and ended up striking the animal from behind. I didn’t hit the deer hard enough to really hurt it, although I am certain the 5 mph safety bumpers mounted on my car didn’t feel pleasant, but I did manage to put a big hole in my car’s plastic grill that I later had to swap out.

I thought long and hard about why the deer had reacted the way it did but could not find an answer on my own. In the end, it was an experienced hunter who clued me in. Deer, he told me, are prey animals who usually live in the deep woods and they rely a lot on sound to assess threat. A car closing in on them does not make a lot of noise because, thanks to the Doppler effect, it compresses the sound waves in front of it. This is also, as a side note, why someone walking on a train track can be easily run down by a train from behind and why, despite many bikers assertions otherwise loud pipes do not save lives. Out the back and off to the sides however, a vehicle does make noise and these noises are often reflected off the trees as it passes. The deer, whose ears are much more sensitive than the one you and I have, interpret these sounds as coming from the woods and as a result will almost always run up the road and away from a sound. Following this logic, In the case of my stepfather’s accident, the deer was spooked by a car that passed just seconds earlier and ended up running right into an oncoming car when it would have made more sense to have taken the shortest route off the road and back into cover.

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Because of my earlier experience with a deer in the wild, I take animals in the road seriously. While I may admire their beauty and encourage my kids to look at Bambi as we pass I know in my heart they are stone cold killers. The Insurance Journal reports that between July 1, 2011 and June 30 2012 there were approximately 1.23 million deer/car collisions in the United States. These accidents caused about 200 deaths and resulted in insurance pay outs of almost $4 Billion. These are huge numbers but the amount of deaths per accident are not incredibly high. I am sure much of this can be attributed to good design and modern safety systems, but to me they also indicate that many of these accidents are not happening at full speed like the one that happened to Guy but are, rather, more like the low speed one I had. I wonder then, how many of these could actually have been avoided if people had a better understanding of the animal’s possible reaction.

I once wrote that every time I have ever tried to portray myself as an expert on anything I end up getting embarrassed by someone who actually is. If I tell someone I speak good Japanese it turns out their brother is fluent and has written actual books in the language and I come away looking like a chump. Mention that I studied Karate and Check Norris laughs in my face. I have no desire to portray myself as an expert on animal behavior, hell for that matter I don’t know what I am going to do from minute to minute so why would I think I would know the mind of a deer? What I do have, however, is you TTAC’s best and brightest. I am sure I am not the only one to have an animal encounter, and given that we are all sooner or later bound to have one of our own, I want you to share what you know. Tell us your tricks and maybe save a life.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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122 Comments on “Deadly Threat: A Deer In The Headlights...”


  • avatar
    Zackman

    Hitting a deer is my worst fear on my long commute. I take I-275 around Cincinnati on the west side, skirting Indiana on my way to northern Kentucky where I work, from West Chester, which is on the north side of town above the interstate.

    I take nothing for granted, especially in the morning, and I see lots of dead deer, unfortunately, even on the exit ramp heading home in town. Sad.

    With only one good eye, I can’t afford to really relax too much, even if the traffic is normally light.

    A very real problem, indeed, and one to take very seriously.

  • avatar
    GoesLikeStink

    My 2 daughters were visiting their grampa in Kansas when a deer ran in front of them. My dad clipped the rear leg of the animal and it ran off. The damaged headlight and hood was enough to get the insurance to total it. It is an Aztek (yes my dad drives an Aztek, leave me alone) He got a new hood and headlight and is still driving it though.
    Also I was in Yellowstone over the weekend and have pictures of a Buffalo walking right down the street, cars stopped in both directions as the beast, almost as big as our GrandCaravan, saunters straight up to a car and then changes direction to the other lane, then finally goes to the shoulder. Of course there were idiots opening there doors 2 or 3 feet from him. But I did not see anyone get gored. Luckily.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I hear that in my western state more deer are taken down by cars than by hunters.

    Having lived briefly in Maine, the real fear was moose. Their added height would send their heavy bodies right down through the windshield, bypassing the hood and crumple zones entirely.

    Thomas, glad to hear that your mother and stepfather came through unscathed.

    • 0 avatar
      Windy

      too True: a visit to a Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles office will let you view a state map with little colored spots showing where Moose have killed people in their cars in recent years with a few accident scene photos about the edge of the map to emphasize the point.

      I have (knocking wood) had only one encounter of this type; driving a rental car (early Ford Taurus) back from Halifax NS after delivering a boat there. It was about 3AM a little before first light in June and I was in truth driving a bit fast considering how tired I was (get home itis can be a killer condition on its own) the moose ran across in from of me so closely i had no time to react I would guess no more than 15 to 20 feet at closest point of passage… road was heavily wooded with a narrow shoulder 2 lane state road… I was so shaken I pulled over and woke a sleeping crew member to take over the wheel. there had been no other traffic on the road for about 10 to 15 min either side of the encounter so if there had been an accident help would not have come soon.

      for some of these encounters i think when your number is up it is up.

  • avatar
    bjchase55

    Who is Check Norris? Sorry, couldn’t help myself. =)

    I have lived my whole life in or around the rural Mid-West. I have a high respect for large animals, mostly deer around me. I always expect a deer to jump out into the road, but I also always expect a child, or a dog, and so forth to jump out in front of me. The main thing is to not be distracted. I don’t talk on the cell phone or text. And when I do see a deer walking into the road, I don’t start to accelerate until I am past where the deer crossed. I also expect there to be more than one.

    • 0 avatar

      Check Norris – the famous Bollywood Kung-fu star. I think he was in “Walka, Punjab Ranja” Who did you think I meant?

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      My son’s karate teacher has pictures of him, in the ring, against norris (they are friends) from the 70′s, (also alot of pictures with hulk hogan and jackie chan, jackie chan I get, him and the hulkster, and these are pics from his 80′s “take your ster…vitamins” glory days, not so much).

      With Brother in 72 buick LeSabre, deer won (winning being dying), just like squirrels (sp), yes it is a prey instinct, not stupidity that they start towards the side and then directly in front of the car, in nature, generally once a preditor has picked its angle, the preys best hope is making that angle wrong and jetting the other way (think of car as preditor (if I was a small animal I sure as hell would), juke towards curb, runs towards road, has no way to know that car isn’t a preditor and isn’t preparing its attack angle)

  • avatar
    Bored383

    I was taught to use the horn and headlights to get deer off the road – and at night to flash the headlights on and off to unfreeze the deer in the road. Deer are pretty pathetically stupid animals. Good thing they are tasty.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Don’t confuse stupidity with being unsure how to react in a situation you didn’t evolve to handle or have never been taught to deal with.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I don’t know. In just the past 20 years, the behavior of deer in my Virginia home town has changed dramatically. They’ve always been car fodder, but now they’ve lost their fear of people. My parents practically have to shoo them out of the way in the middle of the day. Deer will just stand around eating azaleas with people 8 feet away. They roam in herds in residential areas in broad daylight. I only ever saw them in my headlights when I lived there, but now I see them every time I visit my folks.

        • 0 avatar
          morbo

          They eat the mullberries off my mullberry tree in South Jersey.

          At 7AM summer daylight.

          From the street that the mulberry tree overhangs.

          Damn delicious rats with antlers.

          • 0 avatar
            rnc

            Damn, you should see what they can do to kind bud outdoors, won’t even touch the tomato plants, evey other row, meant to conceal. Don’t know how I know this.

  • avatar
    segfault

    Deer were once almost extinct in my part of the county, now they are horribly overpopulated, thanks to the wildlife folks restocking the herd and imposing decades of hunting restrictions. Did it cause $4 billion per year of environmental damage (plus the injuries and loss of human life) when they were almost extinct and there weren’t any to hit?

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    As a motorcyclist, I’m always paranoid about deer. Those things really are vicious killers.

    To put things in perspective, since 1995, deer have killed about the same number of people on US soil as al Quaeda has. They truly are terrorist creatures.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Why not fence off long straightaways for miles at a time? Deer learn where to cross and you know where to expect them.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Deer have been bad lately, I’ve hit 3 in the past 2 years

    1 in a H1 which took a little paint off the bumper, was going about 60
    2 in my DD H2 both just took a little paint off the bumper, one was at about 70 the other about 50. They came out of thick woods before I could even react.
    But a little black paint has corrected all 3 incidents.

    And yes I’m extremely confused how I got no damage at 70 mph

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      I have never hit a deer. Good eyesight, good headlights, good attention to the road, powerful breaks and sharp handling means I have no damage either. No messy deer carcases to clutter up the roads either…
      Next time you are behind a compact hatchback, keep a good following distance, you may need it.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Issues not slowing down, that’s the easy part, the issue is them coming out of thick woods, or trying to cross highways in the night at full speed.
        I have very good senses and can stop pretty quickly, but even anticipating the possibility they still catch you.

        I’ve avoided many

        • 0 avatar
          Beerboy12

          Mostly when I have seen deer with more than enough time to nail the breaks. It does help to have good breaks here but like many situations, things can happen too fast.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        @beerboy12 If you think you have avoided hitting a deer due to your superior driving skills your are totally clueless. I have never hit one either but only because like you, i have been lucky. When one decides it wants to jump right in front of you it will and there is not a damn thing you can do about it. i don’t care how manuerable you think your
        little car is. When it comes to deer I’ll take the safety of my full size GMC 2500HD over your good brakes and sharp handling every time.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Exactly up until these last 2 years I had never hit one either, I’m avoiding more than ever, and it’s only a matter of time before it will happen, thankfully I haven’t suffered any damage.

        • 0 avatar
          Beerboy12

          With twenty times the skill I have, your 2500HD would be on it’s roof if it tried even a fraction of what my little car is capable of.
          In all probability you would be fairly safe in a full size pick up if you did not swerve but 99.9% of people will and then that truck is not going to be your friend.
          I’ll take my chances with the little car, thanks.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “When it comes to deer I’ll take the safety of my full size GMC 2500HD”

          Maybe you’re right, here’s a GMC pickup after a deer strike – and sure enough, there isn’t even a scratch on the frontend. But, there was a slight problem:
          http://goo.gl/zGDfm

        • 0 avatar
          Sam P

          I’ll take the anchor-like brakes of my 3 series over your 2500HD any day. The last deer I avoided was thanks to a full-ABS stop from 55 mph and swerving.

      • 0 avatar
        SlowMyke

        I have good eyesight a good car (taurus) and always pay attention when I drive, too. But I hit a deer in a 4 lane avenue in the middle of rush hour traffic at 5:00 pm. I was on the outside lane traveling the 45 mph speed limit. An SUV traveling a couple mph faster than me was over taking me in the inside lane. His front door was lined up with my front tire, effectively creating a wall to my left. He just barely missed a deer running from the left. It made my field of vision with about 10 feet between it and my bumper. That I even was able to react at all was amazing, but I might have slowed 5 mph. Absolutely unavoidable collision. The deer hit the front right corner of my car and flew off the road.

        You only feed into the stereotypes for golf drivers when you act like the combination of you and a vw equals an infallible driver. You’ve just been lucky not to have an animal get in front of you. Not every situation provides ample reaction time and space.

        • 0 avatar
          Beerboy12

          My reply was to Hummers assertion that his car suffered no damage due to his choice of car. I think it is rational to point out I suffered no damage due to my choice of car, with out unnecessary accusations of stereotyping. I did not sink to that level with Hummer, did I?
          Luck plays a role, that is blatantly obvious. There is an expression thought that goes like this “You make your own luck”.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Umm, I’m sorry? I didn’t mean to get your panties in a knot, there was no underlying message in my post.
            I sunk to no level, hitting the deer was inevitable no matter what you think, your the one making accusation that what you drive enabled you to do such and such, I’m here to tell you, in all 3 of my cases there was no avoiding them. The conclusions that your trying to make are in fact, yours.
            Did my choice of vehicle have any affect on the lack of damage? Who knows, you would have to find out yourself, in the exact same scenario with the exact same conditions minus your choice of vehicle.

            There’s no need to berate me for what happened, I never stated that A happened because of B, and even if I did, why would it matter?

  • avatar
    vvk

    I don’t know if it makes sense but I think it is safer to accelerate hard if a deer jumps in front of your car instead of braking hard. This way, the dear is less likely to strike the windshield and your head.

    • 0 avatar
      noxioux

      Accelerating isn’t going to do anything but increase the energy transferred upon impact. If your hope is to have the deer somehow fly over top of your car. . . that’s just silly.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        What he is referring to is that if you brake hard for the impact, the nose of the car will dive. This gives a better surface for the deer to basically slide up through your windshield on. Alternatively, accelerating shifts weight rear and raises the front end slightly. This gives the deer a better chance of going under the car.

        With the high front fascias of most modern cars, and definitely SUVs, accelerating could very conceivably do that.

        OTOH, I drive an S2000, so I go very slow through the curvy wooded sections on my morning drive home or to work that lack good visibility. I work 12 hour shifts 4-4, so I’m always doing one of these drives in the dark.

        • 0 avatar
          racer193

          I have hit a deer at somwhere north of 80 mph the deer did not go under the car but took the bumpergrill and passenger headlight asembly with it as it sailed over my 88 mazda 626 gt. I was able to limp it home and fix it but I didnt notice the kink in the line that acts as a trans cooler that eventually broke and killed it.

    • 0 avatar
      catachanninja

      Myth busters did this, but with a mouse, If I recall correctly speeding up made no difference

      • 0 avatar
        mklrivpwner

        I remember that one. Speeding up made it worse. Much worse.
        Growing up in Western MD, deer, bears, rabbits, squirrells, turkeys, whatever running into the road was a way of life. Speeding up in all situations was a big “no”.
        If the animal is shorter than your bumper, don’t slow down, don’t swerve. Odds are the animal will dart away or your car will pass right over it. Swerving will only create a dangerous situation for everyone on the road.
        For deer, as soon as you see them, slow down and give them space. They will likely run, just as Tom mentioned, up or down the road and you can safely pass them. Of course you have to remember that females and youths are family-group animals. So if you see one, look for more. And (here’s the dangerous part), if the one in the road is a doe, they will ALL run out into the road. So what if they dart out in front of you “that quick”? I was taught “hit them”. Certainly apply the brakes (don’t lock them up) but don’t try to swerve. You’ll probably hit the deer anyway, so swerving, again, will just make the situation more dangerous.
        Bear? Same thing. Except you’ll want to actually stop until the bear gets off the road.
        BTW, this was all advice given by my father, a hunter, mechanic and former EMT. So he’s seen all ends of what deer do around cars. In fact, a few years back, my grandfather (owns the body shop) got a late 80′s Chevy pickup that hit a deer head-on. That’s the truck AND the deer. The only damage to the truck was the bumper, grill, and a punctured radiator which still had the broken antler sticking out of it.

  • avatar
    noxioux

    When I lived down in central Utah, smacking deer was just part of the groove. I haven’t hit too many, maybe for or five, and only two of those caused any real damage. The last one I hit decisively totaled my ’90 Pathfinder, although the damage seems mild compared to what happened to Guy’s Rav-4. Toyota must make those things out of bone china and wet toilet tissue.

    The rotten things cause amazing amounts of damage, and even a few fatalities. I have a friend who hit 13 deer in his truck over the last two decades. The Subaru Outback I used to have as a company car had smacked 7 deer in its lifetime (with other drivers). I had a deer run smack into the side of it one time. Highway 89 is littered with dead deer almost all year round.

    And last year DWR screwed the deer hunt up even worse than it was, all in the name of increasing the herds.

  • avatar
    kkt

    Hitting a deer causes the RAV4 to burst into flames?? What?

    • 0 avatar
      Searcher

      Crumpled hood may well have shorted the battery which has way more than enough amperage to weld with. Getting some sheet metal glowing wouldn’t be a problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Any number of potential causes involving the fuel system. Fuel pumps should shut off automatically these days, but there’s still plenty of flammable stuff around, plenty of heat, and as Searcher said, the electrics can, with sufficient impact to push ‘em around, create more than enough heat for ignition.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      When NHTSA gets wind of this, all RAV4s will be recalled and crushed as unsafe vehicles.

      And they thought Jeep Grand Cherokees and Libertys caught fire easily!

    • 0 avatar

      That’s the big mystery at my house this week. Given Guy’s issues with his legs, he can walk a short distance with the aid of two heavy canes that he uses almost like crutches while he swings his legs underneath him, had there not been someone there to help him his chances of getting out may have been diminished.

      They bought the RAV new just a few years ago and only use it around town. I’d be shocked if it had much more than 10K miles on it. It was such a nice little car, it still smelled new inside.

      To anyone wondering, Guy and my mother are doing well. The insurance company has given them a rental and they are sorting out just how much money they are going to get. My guess is that even if they get the miximum payout they are going to lose something just because of depriciation. At the rate they were going, they’d have had that car for the next 30 years.

      • 0 avatar
        WildcatMatt

        I’m curious how things turned out with the insurance. From my experience my suspicion is the big loss is not the depreciation, but rather the accessibility add-ons like the hand controls.

        I hope the insurance company was aware of them beforehand, or that they don’t require listing additional equipment up front.

  • avatar
    KennethofGA

    I’ve been in many deer collisions in private vehicles over the years twice as a driver and several times as a passenger. The worst was the only one to happen at speed. Riding in an F-150 at 70 a large buck ran out of the median just far enough ahead to to be seen. I don’t know the actual impact speed but given the distance I don’t think the 4 discs had time to scrub off more than 5-10 mph. Both bags deployed and the entire front end was ruined. After all that I’ve seen happen both before and after getting my CDL the only thing I can say about avoiding deer is to be wary and in an emergency to be CALM. Many many trucks have been overturned because a driver tried to swerve and avoid a deer. The physics are different in a passenger vehicle, true but the logic stays the same don’t make the situation worse. Finally as the driver of a vehicle with large blind spots please don’t tell me loud pipes don’t save lives.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I was going to comment on the loud pipes thing, too.

      By God I’ve heard bikes I wouldn’t have seen (if I was an idiot who didn’t check his mirrors, or someone with unavoidable truck-sized blind spots) that were *right next to me*, barely passing me, because they were running loud pipes.

      It’s quite possible that the safety effect is overemphasized or used as an excuse to make lots of noise, but I don’t think it can be reduced to zero.

      (There is a real effect, in my experience, where someone behind you, when you’re both at speed, is harder to hear – and that when someone is going much faster you lack *time* to hear them and get much warning.

      But it’s not strictly the Doppler Effect in either case; the Doppler Effect refers to a perceived change in sound *frequency*, not volume.)

    • 0 avatar
      fishiftstick

      Re loud pipes: They probably do save lives. And I don’t care.
      Motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than cars. You have the right to take that risk. You do not have the right to offset it by imposing burdens on others. If your vehicle cannot be operated safely without making an inordinate amount of noise, drive something else.
      My safety would also be enhanced if I drove a car with disco lights and a siren, but neither of us has the right to disturb the peace.

      • 0 avatar
        Halftruth

        Agree 1000 percent. If my ears ring after you drive by with your stupid pipes, then they are way too loud.. I see it all the time. Super loud pipes but no helmet, sleeves, pants or boots.. please.
        If you are serious about safety, gear up and shutup.. Loud pipes or not, driver inattention will trump all and that is why I gave it up after 20 years.

      • 0 avatar
        ihatetrees

        First, I don’t ride. However, I sympathize with loud bikers.

        I get to this position by assuming our current traffic laws and enforcement are in a degenerate state based on revenue generation, not safety. Therefore:

        a) there’s little negative CRIMINAL consequence to a car cutting off a biker and splatting his bike and (subsequent) corpse.
        AND
        b) there’s little enforcement against bikers regarding loud pipes.

        I don’t know what came first or if an equilibrium emerged.

        However, regarding YOUR annoyance and your (so called) right to peace: bikers and (many) cops don’t care. The annoyance of 100 people like you is insignificant if it stops the minivan driver yelling at kids while eating a taco from crossing 2 lanes to catch an exit and blow up a biker in the process.

    • 0 avatar
      bk_moto

      As a motorcyclist, the whole “loud pipes save lives” thing is crap.

      You will notice that the riders preaching this mantra about how loud pipes are for safety are the same riders who are wearing novelty 1/2 helmets or no helmets at all and little or no other protective gear. You will also notice, upon observing them riding, that they can’t ride worth a damn and have never bothered to take any instruction that would help them to operate their motorcycles in a safer fashion. Therefore they cannot credibly claim that they are interested in safety.

      Loud pipes are just the result of attention-whoredom. The old “look at me!”

      If such motorcyclists were really interested in saving their own lives, they’d wear protective gear, real helmets, and would take advanced rider instruction to learn how to ride well. These are the things that save lives.

      The one thing that loud pipes do is lose rights for motorcyclists.

    • 0 avatar
      RogueInLA

      Loud pipes don’t do anything but annoy people *after* you’ve passed them. When I bought my Harley the shop wanted to remove the baffles from the mufflers for a power increase, and used the “loud pipes save lives”, mantra to justify it as a safety issue. Stand by a busy street, facing away from traffic, and see how many times you’re suprised by a loud motorcycle as it passes you. I’ve ridden for years, and the people who yell ‘LPSL’ loudest are the ones who take the least amount of safety precautions, they just want to be loud and outrageous, they’re doing it for speed/hp, not safety. I’ve had loud bikes pass by my Gold Wing, and, given their speed, I don’t hear them until they’re right next to me. Sorry, but as a long time rider, “loud pipes save lives” is a BS argument.

      This explains it better than I can without taking up too much of the thread;

      http://www.autoevolution.com/news/most-common-motorcycle-myths-debunked-part-1-45969.html

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    We have a similar problem in Australia with kangaroos.

    I’ll hit half a dozen or so every year where I live in the Top End.

    Everyone up here uses roo bars or they are sometimes called bull bars.

    They cost a couple of grand, but are worth every penny.

    Kangaroos are that dumb they sometimes go straight into the side of a vehicle. But the vehicle is still driveable.

    Up here is more isolated that in Alaska and the last thing you want is to be stranded with a smashed front end and radiator.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      I believe wombats are pretty nasty to hit to.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Beerboy12
        Wombats can be over 1 metre along and are low, plus very solid, like hitting a rock.

        When you encounter one, they will even damage small trucks. They have been known to rip a front end out of a car.

        Up here I also have wild buffalo, cattle and a little further south camels.

        Emu’s also kill people, they are similar to and ostrich and can weigh over 100lbs, but they go straight through windscreens.

        At night we use driving lights up here that turn night into day.

        When I was in the States last at Christmas I bought driving lights (KC Highlighters), but I think your lights are limited by regulations on brightness.

        I’ll remove the 100w globes and replace them with 150w’s, that will hopefully give me near on half a mile of light.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Big lights was my defense of choice in college as well. I went to school in far Eastern Maine, 225 very dark rural Moose filled miles from Portland. I had a pair of 100W Hella spotlights on the front of my Jettas. On the ’84 GLI, I also had Hella headlights with 4 100w high beam bulbs. And a 90A alternator upgrade. They would light up the night like aircraft landing lights. And they were still just about adequate for spotting a moose trotting down the middle of the road in front of you! You cannot imagine how hard a moose is to see at night until you experience it.

        • 0 avatar
          FAHRVERGNUGEN

          My wife and I were driving the country roads of southern Wales on our honeymoon when out of the fields popped three adult sheep.
          I had seen them running in the verge, and slowed down enough to go right between #1 and #2 but the poor fellow to my right hit #1 with his typical micro-car and the entire front end dissolved, right to the firewall.
          Sheep may not be smart, but they are dense and right at bumper height.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      After hearing this and investigating what a “roo bar” was, I want one on my vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @28 Cars Later
        You should have them available in the US, a deer would be no match for one.

        They are now engineered to comply with other safety features, ie airbags etc.

        My bar sits on a shock mounting system so not to activate the airbags if I collide with a large kangaroo, they can be over 6 foot high and weigh over 200lbs.

        My bar is designed to hit an animal up to 220lbs at 100kmph without setting of the airbags.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The only time I recall ever seeing one was on a Chevy Trailblazer I had to rep at the auction in 2006. The previous owner had installed a large chrome “push bar” (as it was explained to me), and our hope was the truck would do a little bit better on the block because of it… which ended up being the case.

          One would look hilarious on my Volvo.

        • 0 avatar
          fincar1

          On a trip to Des Moines, Iowa, last summer I saw a surprising number of line-haul trucks that had what looked like roo bars. This year going to Nevada and back I also saw quite a few. I’d suspect that the worry here is cattle, but deer may also be seen as a problem.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @fincar1
            About 6 years ago I was driving south of Mt Isa and a roadtrain must have went through a herd of cattle.

            It looked like a war zone. I had to virtually drive at 20kph around all of the dead cattle for about 200 metres.

            Wow, what a mess.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @28 Cars Later
        We have Australian companies, ARB, TJM, Old Man Emu etc that make airbag compatible roo bars.

        They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

        We even have plastic bars for cars, but cars sometime get damaged with a bar because they don’t have a full chassis.

    • 0 avatar
      chug

      This article includes a picture of a car that was hungry for a kangaroo.

      http://journals.worldnomads.com/nomads-survival-kit/story/35109/

    • 0 avatar
      Windy

      In this part of the world some folks call them Supper Bars :-)

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    What about Canada Geese? Those darn things will waddle out onto the road and STAY THERE, regardless of traffic. The geese must feel like they own the road.

  • avatar
    lw

    SLOW DOWN! The position of your hood isn’t the problem. The massive size/weight of the object in front of you is.

    http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/mythbusters-database/speed-up-when-you-hit-a-moose.htm

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Deer are an absolute menace.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      My experience in WI and MN has been that when you see the “Deer-Crossing” signs, just slow down, and if you see a thicket or any suspicious section of forest adjacent to the roadway, GO SLOW and GET ON THE HORN. Dawn and twilight are key times, not the middle of the day, typically. The deer have bolted away in response to a horn blast, but are non-responsive to head lights. Could it be that they are getting more accustomed about what to do with these human devices called “vehicles”? I have never hit a deer, although many have come to the sides of roads I travel and looked with bewilderment…

      —————–

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I live in suburban Western PA and over the past ten or so years the deer problem has gotten much more serious. Perhaps you are right and over the past generation or two the deer have learned to not fear man and his contraptions they way they have in the past.

        If we didn’t live in such a ridiculous society I would suggest local hunting clubs partner with law enforcement to remove or eradicate deer from the city and suburbs, but I’m going to file that under notgonnahappen.com.

        • 0 avatar

          When I looked at the national figures, PA showed as the state with the highest number of car/deer accidents.

          Judiging by the sheer carnage I saw left on the roadway during my recent drive across the PA turnpike, that sounds right.

        • 0 avatar
          ihatetrees

          I’m also from western NY and drive to PA occasionally. The deer problem seems to be getting worse.

          I’ve heard that “For Profit” hunting could easily thin deer herds. Any chance that’s possible in PA?

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Sometimes I think hunters need aiming lessons. That aside, nothing beats observant driving. The human eye is fairly good at spotting movement in shadows in the periphery vision. If you catch a movement at night don’t look directly at it because you won’t see it. I look for flashes from the headlight off deer eyes. Break hard if you have time, avoid a collision because it may not be a deer. people wander about on roads at night all the time. Hopefully there is not some knucklehead tail gating you.
    Something else to remember. where there is one, there is often more. If you see a deer, expect there to be more.

    • 0 avatar
      arun

      Okay I have to say this – it is ‘brake’ not ‘break’..

    • 0 avatar
      RogueInLA

      I really hope it never actually happens to you, but please, let us know what happens to you when a deer jumps out of thick underbrush 10 feet in front of you. If you REALLY think you can avoid a deer, in the dark, traveling at a 90 degree angle to the highway (thereby eliminating the reflection from the eyes), that leaps out of the roadside growth literally *right* in front of you, you’re in for a shock when it happens.

      PS. It’s ok to admit you don’t know how to spell brake, who uses spell check on a 5 line post, why not just read it over?

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Sorry but the Doppler effect does not make it harder to hear things coming at you than going away it just changes the pitch you perceive. Now the fact that we and animals have directional hearing does make it harder to hear things behind us than in front of us whether those things are moving to or away from you. Of course deer and many other animals do have ears that can move to point them in the direction they want to hear. If you ever observe a deer it is common for them to keep their ears moving to tell if something it trying to sneak up on the and to tell what direction that noise is coming from.

  • avatar

    Michigan has over 20,000 dear/car collisions a year and you just have to learn to look for them, particularly around dusk or dawn. If you see one, there will likely be others.

    I remember driving in the morning fog coming back from Drummond Island off the Upper Peninsula’s east edge. Driving west on US-2, I slowed when I spotted a buck, which stopped in the middle of the road as a doe and three fawns crossed behind it.

    My dad, may he rest in peace, once hit a deer on I-80 in Pennsylvania in a full size 1966 Olds 88. The car needed a new front end, everything back to the water pump was destroyed. Fortunately, he and my mom weren’t hurt. He was a veterinarian so he went back to check on the deer, but by then it was flattened by semis.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I’ve had a few close calls with deer, my rule is if you see one, assume it will run in front of you. Seems to be what they do. Arizona jackrabbits are just as bad, I hit one doing about 60 and it sent my dad’s Suburban airborne. Spent the next half hour dodging kamikaze rabbits.

    Couple times I’ve had deer jump out of the bushes a few feet from me while mountain biking alone at night. That’ll get your heart going.

  • avatar
    mr.cranky

    I was driving up to visit my parents last Thanksgiving and on the way, two deer ran right into the side of my truck. I couldn’t have avoided them because I would have gone off of the bridge and into the water. Amazingly, my truck absorbed the damage and I was able to continue on until I got home to assess the situation.

    I swear I still have a fear of driving around wooded areas as a result, especially early in the morning or late at night.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      That sucks I know a guy at work who had deer run into the side of his crew cab Tacoma, he keeps it spotless has some aftermarket accessories, beautiful truck, anyways not even a year after he got it repaired it happened again, same side, same story.
      And if he wasn’t a sucker for pain after he got that repaired someone backed into the same friggin side

      I feel so bad for him, (secretly I can’t help but to chuckle) he hasn’t even gotten it repaired this time. But man the people that put the truck back together time one and two did an excellent job.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        Time to appease the curse of the clean undamaged side of that truck. Let it be.
        I got a serious door ding on my Suzuki, and got it fixed. Three days later I am mowing my “yard” and the lawnmower kicked up a rock, threw it 20 feet, and nailed the door exactly 6 inches above the site of the repair. I gave up, and decided to just be grateful it was not 6 inches higher up. That would likely have shattered the driver’s window.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          I would have been livid, I’ve done accidental dents and scratches before, not the same way as you, but I get so caught up and just go crazy over self inflicted incidents, I don’t care about offroad scars those give character, but unintentionally dinging a vehicle myself, will set me off. I settle down and get over it eventually but….

          Work trucks I don’t care.

  • avatar

    The natural predator of Deer is the AR-15.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’m surprised you didn’t say something to the effect of: the natural predator of deer is ME.

      • 0 avatar

        I was originally going to pose a physics question:

        How fast would a RAM SRT-10 have to be going to make a deer’s body BURST on contact?

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I can tell you from experience that a Volvo 740 is an excellent tool for that at about 70mph. My roommate hit one with his ’90 Turbo – deer blew up like it had swallowed a bomb. Absolutely covered that car in gore, tore the deer to pieces. Took out the headlight, fender, and hood, but was a fairly small deer so the damage wasn’t that bad. Deer in Maine tend to be fairly small compared to those “corn fed” deer down south and out west. Much harder winters up here.

          Unfortunately, the MOOSE more than make up for it. Deer are nothing, you have to be pretty seriously unlucky to be killed by hitting a deer. Moose kill semi-truck drivers. Regularly. And they make deer look like rocket scientists in the brains department. And they have NO fear of anything.

          Deer are a menace though, I was at the I-95 interchange next to the Maine Mall last week, sitting at a light in the middle of the day. Looked to my right and there is a big buck standing RIGHT THERE on the other side of the guardrail, not 6′ from the side of my car. Then again a friend of mine hit a bear on the Garden State Parkway in Paramus, NJ. Just about behind IKEA! Totaled a perfectly nice Saab 9-5.

      • 0 avatar
        arun

        or a 300 SRT-8…

  • avatar
    Sejonero

    in mi case it was a horse a few years back, which came from nowhere! we were driving in northern rural Mexico on a 1990 beretta with really bad lights, when just outside a town a horse just ran across the road and bam! i remember it so vividly! i was riding shotgun and just heard the sound of the tires and next thing i see is the face of the effing horse right on the windshield on the passeger side and the glass of the window’s door shattering, how did that happen? i have no idea, but have a few images in my brain, the poor animal was hit by the front fender, went over the hood, hit the windshield with the head and i guess the rest of the body hit the window’s door, i was so scared and sad for the horse and also because it was my very first car! we pulled over but did not find the horse! so hopefully he made it out alive.
    just a little offtopic, i always thought there was something off with that car, the horse incident, i blew the clutch when crossing the Juarez bridge, when we were coming back the federal police pulled us over and took some money since the car was an american car and were mexicans, just one too many like this!

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    An assortment of responses . .

    http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=106993 love this one.

    I think that deer’s spastic unpredictability just might be a long selected for anti-predatory behavior pattern.

    A friend of mine once hit a bison from behind at night in a a late 80′s Taurus. It’s ass slid up the hood, broke the windshield and sprayed the interior of the car with shit. The car, and the bison were totaled.

    Just when I was thinking some sort deer variant of Roo bars, I got to our Ozzie contributors comments. Thanks, mates!

    If the sound wave hypothesis the author mentions is valid, then just maybe those deer whistles people put on their bumpers just might be a valid concept after all.

    I was in Yellowstone last month. Driving along the high traffic roads with all the unpredictable/blissful/inattentive/rude/distracted/on vacation/vacated commonsense/stranger in strange land, tourist drivers, at one point I recognized a familiar faint apprehensive butterflies in my stomach feeling, and realized it was the same one I have when driving through a deer infested area.

    • 0 avatar
      RogueInLA

      Regarding deer whistles; unless someone educates the deer, you’ll wind up with dead deer with a “what’s that noise?” look.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deer_horn

      http://www.deercrash.org/toolbox/CMToolboxWhistles.pdf

  • avatar
    ant

    Ive hit two deer in the past coupla years at 55+ with my 18 wheeler. No damage either time. Odd.

    A few points; If the deer looks like it is being indecisive, blow your horn to make it decide. And point number two, if a deer crosses the road, don’t watch it go into the woods. watch where it came from, cause there will prolly be more.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Wow, a near tragedy averted, Thomas, I’m very happy for you and yours. My closest brush with a deer was coming upon a recently dead one smack in my lane one night. Luckily it was young and very thin laying on its side and my tC skimmed right over it. No damage whatsoever, and I must have come close enough to shave it, having strands of hair blown over the back of the car.

    It’s a bit frightening to see how little it takes under the right circumstances to cause a vehicle fire. Your folks’ RAV4 wasn’t that old and I’m sure it must have been well-maintained. Why have underhood fire suppression systems never been pursued/introduced/mandated?

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    “A car closing in on them does not make a lot of noise because, thanks to the Doppler effect, it compresses the sound waves in front of it. ”

    No. The observation may be correct, the explanation is not. The Doppler effect only changes the frequency of sound, not its amplitude, or its velocity.

    The probable reason that a car is quieter in front than on the sides (if it is) is due to masking of the tailpipe and the contact patch of the tires by the bodywork, and perhaps some directionality in the sound field they produce.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks for the explanation. As I was writing this I had that old graphic of the moving vehicle with its soudwaves compressed in front and stretched out behind firmly fixed in my mind. Your answer sounds much more correct – too bad I can’t edit things once they go up, if I could I’d also fix all the syntax and typos I can never see before I press “publish.”

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Lets be real here….deer are in fact unpredictable. That’s not to say that they are NEVER predictable, but for the most part, they are pretty darn unpredictable.

    Another thing to remember concerning deer on or near the roadways–they are rarely alone. If you see one cross the road in front of you, there are usually others following behind. I’ve seen several cars/deer accidents involving that second or third deer that crosses the street.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    TK – Glad to hear your people were OK.

    Deer are pretty stupid animals. A friend recently had one ram her truck fender as she sat at a stop sign.

    Here in western PA, they’re nearly domesticated, and they run freely through all the suburbs around Pittsburgh, including my own back yard. They frequent certain paths, however, and it pays to slow down there. Our roads are littered with their pulverized carcasses.

    I hit a little one a couple years ago (remarkably, my first in 34 years of driving; it ran away), but fortunately I was able to put the plastic inserts back into my bumper with tie wraps, glue, and no insurance claim.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks – they are both fine but it coud have been a lot worse.

      Deer might be stupid but my brother goes hunting every year and gets skunked almost every time…

      • 0 avatar
        Japanese Buick

        That’s because your brother is taking them on on their own turf where their natural advantages come into play. This is why deer hunting is a sport not a harvesting activity.

        Deer on the road are out of their element.

  • avatar
    April

    One night my Dad was driving his almost new 1970 Ford Maverick when a deer ended up in the road. Despite a mashed up front end it was drivable (other than somehow knocking out the front, interior and taillights). Considering how the car ended up being a complete lemon it was too bad the deer didn’t put the Ford out of its misery.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    20 or so years ago, was headed north out of Boston on my trusty 78 XS1100.. It was 2 A.M. I had seen a deer at the side of the road near Wilmington. I had never seen a deer in this area before. There was less traffic back then this late at night save for this guy doing about 90. I stayed behind him the rest of my trip north so I could use his lights in case there was another critter trying to make his way across. Thankfully, it was quiet the rest of the way.

  • avatar
    Nichodemus

    Worse ones for me are the deer that you spot as you come around a curve, just standing on the shoulder of the road. Is he going to stay there or run? It’s just a roll of the dice.

    And yes, there are typically more than one, usually waiting further off in the woods or in a field. I’ve hit about 7 or 8 in the last decade, all fairly minor damage luckily. My grandmother hit one on a brand new Taurus years ago, it somehow ended up in the passenger seat (so the story goes.) I remember as a small kid, a Jeep hit one near our house on Christmas Eve. It burned to the ground.

    I hate deer.

  • avatar
    captnslur

    I live and drive in Minnesota. I remember many years back our speed limit signs would reflect a different speed at night- 65 day, 55 night and that makes good sense even though the limits now do not change at night.

    There are so many drivers around who seem to believe it is their right to drive the speed limit or higher regardless of the existing conditions.

    It’s OK and advised to slow somewhat when it rains – tires take longer to stop on wet pavement; certainly when it snows; when it’s dark and there may be deer or other critters out and about. “Don’t Veer for Deer” is an apt slogan to help avoid and survive confrontation with deer.

    People, it’s OK to drive slower – to not over drive one’s headlights.

  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    Living in Western MA, there is certainly a surfeit of four-foot grill-grinders.
    I’d love to figure out a way to mount a shotgun behind the grill and connect it to the MyBlast Unfotainment software.
    All I would have to do is yell “DEER” and make instant Bambi-burger at the Roadside Cafe.
    I just have to be careful when I greet ol’ Sweetie Pie in the driveway when I come home from work.

  • avatar
    ppxhbqt

    It’s not hard, really. Get on the horn and the brakes as soon as you even notice their eyes and don’t get off of either until they’ve ran back into the woods.

  • avatar

    This explains why a deer that safely crossed the road turned around and jumped in front of my motorcycle the moment I saw the other side of the road was clear and I started applying the throttle. I never considered the acoustic bounce. I got lucky and only broke my collar bone, but I lost the bike and the deer lost it’s life.

  • avatar
    mcarr

    Glad your parents are ok. The fact that the RAV4 started on fire is very troubling.

    Living in MN and WI I’ve had MANY close calls with deer, but only actually hit one once, once with my 1985 Mazda 626. Was traveling about 60 mph, it jumped out on the road, and I didn’t have time to brake before the impact. Deer was dead, but aside from a bent headlight housing, some blood and hair, the car was fine.

    Another incident I was driving a 2003 Chevy Astro. Two deer ran right in front of me, I swerved to the right, then sawed the wheel to the left back on the road on the brakes the whole time. I can’t believe I didn’t roll or spin the van, and to this day I think it was remarkable driving on my part.

    Another incident, I braked hard enough to miss a deer running across, but the car travelling the opposite direction hit it with full force, sending the carcass hurtling over my car, just grazing the roof. I’m sure he couldn’t see the deer in my headlights.

    Most recent encounter I was driving on the interstate at 80 mph in the dark at about 6:00am and like a blink there was a brown spot in front of me what seemed to be 10ft away, and then it was gone. Didn’t even move my foot to disengage the cruise. It was surreal. I did slow down after that.

  • avatar
    KrohmDohm

    First off I’m glad your parents came out unharmed in their recent encounter Thomas.

    I clipped a buck with an ’07 Odyssey a couple years ago. It was just before dawn on a 2 lane road next to a farmers crop. The buck seemed to materialize in front of me coming from my left cutting across the road at an angle at a dead run. At around 45-50 mph I cut the wheel hard left and turned into him clipping his right rear leg with the passenger side corner of the van. He hit the passenger mirror tearing it off but dangling by the power cable. He disappeared into the woods leaving me mad as a badger and cursing up a storm. I pulled over in a school parking lot just up the road and checked the van to be sure it was safe to drive. In the end insurance paid to cover the damages and the worst part of the whole ting turned out to be the Chrysler mini-van rental I had to drive for a week.
    That’s the only deer I’ve hit so far but plenty of them have caused me concern. They are as indecisive as squirrels about crossing the road unfortunately the consequence of their decision making powers are enhanced by their size. They are a true hazard here in tidewater Virginia.

  • avatar
    Johnny Carcinogen

    I heard from a trucker friend of mine that a moose whistle aids in preventing Moose/Deer collisions.

    http://deerwhistle.com/

  • avatar
    bunkie

    I hate the damned creatures. Because of them, I no longer ride my motorcycle at night, something I dearly loved. I’ve hit four of the miserable beasts over the last 13 years, luckily not head-on (only glancing blows). I live in fear of a dear coming through the windshield at my wife in the right seat, something that almost happened had I not been able to react enough to have it only dent the side of the car.

    Then there’s the damage they do to the ecosystem. A bunch of yers ago I saw a display by the Pennsylvania conservation people that compared the flora in a fenced area to that in which the deer were allowed to eat everthing in sight. It wasn’t pretty. So many native plants and flowers are being grazed into near-extinction.

    I’m all for a much extended hunting season and a bounty on does in an effort to radically reduce the population to a more manageable level.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    Where I live, near a large river, the Deer have exploded in their numbers over the last 30 years to the point they are almost as obnoxious as the Skunks used to be. When I first moved here in 1982, seeing deer wasn’t all that common, and it was kind of a thrill to see a group of them walking around at night. Now, if I don’t see at least one on the way to work, it’s a rare thing. The closest I’ve come to hitting one was when I was backing down my driveway! I was late, got into my car, which is pretty loud (Solo Performance catback)and backed down my driveway a little faster than I normally do, and suddenly, I passed a doe and a young one who were right next to my driveway. The buck was at the bottom of the driveway, and I stopped just in time. As soon as they heard my tires squeal, they bailed out, and the buck crashed into my neighbor’s GMC Sierra 3500, punching a hole in the rear plastic fender (It was a dualie).

    A friend of mine was transferred to upstate New York, and he hit a deer in his almost new Pontiac 6000 two weeks after he arrived. It was a company car. He expected to get some sort of comments about it, but almost everyone at work said, “Oh, you got your first Deer, it probably won’t be your last!”. He moved down to Kentucky a few years ago, another transfer, and raise, and so far, he’s missed a lot of deer, but his son got one coming home from college last Thanksgiving. The kid just had hit a big dog (Black Lab, it survived) a couple of weeks before that, and the car had just come out of the body shop the day before he went home. He showed up a couple of hours later than expected, with blood on his hoodie and reeking of the smell of airbags, and said, “Well, I’m going to need a new car, I hit a deer just outside of town!”. I guess it’s part of suburban living now.

  • avatar
    TheMossBoss

    Having been present as the car smoldered and our step-father was checked out in the ambulance, I saw the large animal laying at the side of the road. It was a beautiful, young buck and I was struck with sadness. Mom and our step-father were fine, but the deer would lay along the highway dead for 2 days before they finally took it away. We passed by it 3 times and each time I wanted to cry.

    The tall grass that lines the road in this area must have made it hard to see the deer until he was in the road. I am really rather amazed at my step father’s quick reactions and know that things could have ended much worse.

    Having grown up in the Pacific North West- the one thing I know is that deer move in small groups. Where there is one- there are likely at least 2 others nearby. Whenever I spot a deer in or off the road- I am always looking for companions. I slow way down and move away very slowly.

    We will be driving from Washington State to West Yellow Stone next month and this will be a major concern for us. Once, outside of Ely Nevada, I nearly missed hitting several wild horses that hand wandered into the road way. It was around 11:00 at night and I came upon them in the dark with no warning whatsoever. It scared the hell out of me as my husband shifted in his seat and continued snoring. For this reason- I like to be settled into the hotel room by twilight. Traveling the road by night is dangerous because visibility is low and many animals move around out there after dark.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Whew ~

    I’m glad to hear the folks are O.K Thomas .

    Bambi Tacos are _really_ tasty……

    -Nate

  • avatar
    ICARFAN

    Had a deer jump off a hill on the side of the road and do it’s best to get into my X-1/9 with me, window was open, but luckily the top was on or it would have got really ugly. Still to be driving along a country road and all of the sudden having a deer head coming through the window was pretty shocking. Damage was a dent from the hoof on the side of the car and a dent in the window trim where the mirror was swung back into the window. I live in a rural area and we have the whole selection of animals to watch out for, deer, turkey, beaver, cows, sheep, nutria, raccoons and skunks which is what my wife hit and although there was no real damage, the smell kept her from driving her car for a month despite our best efforts.

    I am very careful when driving and at night it is all about looking for the eyeshine and having some bright headlights. It has also kept me from even thinking about buying a sportbike.

    I think being alert as you can be is about your only real defense against deer and then sometimes that is not even enough.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    I live in the sticks and drive 50 mph tops on 2 lanes at night for this very reason. Sorry, annoyed driver behind me with less experience on country roads. My wife hit a deer with her new Prius this past winter and the damage was over $7k

  • avatar
    jonathanir

    I grew up in West Virginia, lived in Cincinnati for a few years and now live in Ohio across the river from Huntington, WV. The deer in all these places are really bad. Carcasses along the road are frequent sights. I have never hit one but that is always in my mind when driving during the day or night. I tend to watch for the reflection of my headlights in their eyes at night and scan the sides of the road for their brown coats against the green shrubbery – that doesn’t really help during winter when everything is dead. The last thing I want is a heavy, solid animal crashing through the windshield of my Focus.

    The population seems to have exploded in the past 10 years.


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