By on July 7, 2009

Tips to avoid/survive deer accidents:

1) Be attentive, be aware. Scan the sides of the road, not just straight ahead (use your peripheral vision).

2. When you see deer (whether standing or moving), warning signs or simply suspect you may be driving through their habitat, slow down.

3) Use your high-beams (dim where appropriate).

4) DO NOT SWERVE to avoid a collision with a deer. A sudden loss of vehicle control is far more dangerous than animal impact. Brake and hold the wheel straight.

5) Do not stop in the middle of the road post-Bambicide. Move your vehicle off the road and out of [further] harm’s way as soon as possible.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

60 Comments on “Bambi Alert!...”

  • avatar

    Car 1 Bambi 0


  • avatar

    Its not uncommon to see two or three on the side of the road, and they will stand at look at you.
    If one of them makes a move the rest will follow.
    Touch wood,I’ve driven Ontario roads for 40 years and have never hit one.

    Odd that the airbags didn’t activate?

  • avatar

    Been there done that. Lucky for me I was driving a full-size American pickup with bull bars.

    Here, if you drive on a rural highway in the middle of the night, you don’t need signs, because they are on the roadsides grazing by the hundreds – five or six here, then another five, six or seven, for mile after mile.

  • avatar

    I was driving home from Pennsylvania with my Father and Brother when a deer darted across I-84 and hit the front right corner of the 1994 Jeep Cherokee we were driving at the time. The deer took off into the woods and from inside the car all we felt was a bump. The headlight and signals were still working. We figured it was nothing much and continued to drive home. When we got home the damage was much worse. The A/C broke from a leak in the line. The radiator needed to be replaced. It was amazing that the lights stayed intact though.

    Another thing to look for in deer country are their glowing eyes on the side of the road.

  • avatar

    Yes, Pennsylvania (where I live), the deer accident capital of the world. About every five miles you see a dead one on the side of the highway. If it wasn’t for deer hunters, I suspect that number would double. For those who wonder if your state makes the top ten, here you go:

  • avatar

    A Moose encounter can get pretty ugly. My brother inlaw hit one with a car carrier. The Moose died and so did the truck. The rad,grill and both fenders. The OPP told him “its a good thing you were not in a car”

  • avatar

    My dad hit one bout half mile from Chrysler HQ nearly 10 years ago with a Cherokee. The damage was incredible to say the least. The poor thing didnt know what hit it…I am talking about the Jeep…jk. I just wonder how much an airbag will protect the driver when hitting one.

  • avatar

    Don’t forget to tag it.

  • avatar

    Smack Bambi with a semi-truck; Oregon it was, a dark moonless night.

    Hwy 58 it was, eastbound with I-5 behind and US 97 ahead where a right turn would eventually get me back to I-5 allowing my 80K pounds to avoid a lot of up- and downgrades.

    Just as I approached the small bridgelet crossing the creek the brown critter appeared. No time to brake, no rapid steering with a fully laden truck, nothing to do but hope for the best.

    Run Bambi, run!!!!!

    Splat… crunch grind crunch crunch.

    I could hear and feel multiple bones pulverized by the left front tire.

    Bambi died quick. She had to. Bambi was likely well-flattened by the first tire since I felt nor heard nothing from the drive and trailer tires as they greeted Bambi.

    Local scavengers likely recycled Bambi quickly and efficiently.

    The debris left upon the truck was minimal and other than a very slight impact dentlet upon the bumper the rig bore no scars.

    Of course, Bambi could have impacted differently and caromed into the radiator or other part of the truck and crippled the rig.

    I would hate to impact a Bambi while riding one of those motorsickle contraptions those long-haired biker-types scoot around upon.

  • avatar

    I count 1.5 seconds from first appearance to splat… not much chance for either party.

    A good reminder of how quickly things can go wrong, RF.

  • avatar

    Whatever you do…. don’t just STOP there in the road. This should be emphasized when you nail bambi just after a blind turn with other motorists coming up from behind. Once upon a time I nearly plowed into a stopped E46 M3 that had just run over a fawn which had been run down by a VW GTI. The M3 was stopped atop of the little bugger just behind the stopped GTI. This was in the left lane of a road traveled often at 50mph. So while bambi was taking his or her last breath under the hot rear diff of the M3 I came round the blind turn at 50mph and had to slow quickly as not to become part of the excitement.

    This is the sort of situation I plan on discussing with participants at the teen driving school I’ll be helping out at this weekend.

  • avatar

    I hit one going somewhere betw 5-10 mph in my old saturn. The deer ran off into the woods, the car had tiny cracks radiating from the point of impact on the bumper, but nothing was broken. Scary, even at that speed. A friend did swerve his old Mazda 323, successfully avoiding one on the Mass Pike.

    I believe the high season, at least in the northeast, is Oct-Dec.

  • avatar

    In the rare, rare event that you have enough time to react to a deer in the road but not enough time to brake, flashing your lights is a good cure for “Deer in the headlights” syndrome.

  • avatar

    A motorcyclist hit one about 5 miles from my place about a month ago. He died.

    He was 65 and retired from the design department at Winnebago Industries.

    Sometimes in the evening I’ve seen herds of up to 25 of them in the area where he was killed. Needless to say I’m very careful driving River Road. No matter, one jumped out of the ditch and into the side of my F750 grain truck a few years ago. It bent the step but did little damage. The deer bounced back into the ditch and died.

    I did not see the deer. Just heard a thud and it was over. The unusual thing was it was about 10:30 AM. A total surprise. Deer are unpredictable and irrational. They hide in the ditch and jump in front just as the vehicle gets close evidently in a fit of panic.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Here’s what happens when you (and the deer) are not so lucky:

  • avatar

    Deer are entirely unpredictable. I saw one run out onto the highway, get confused, and then run directly toward my car.

    Another time, one stood at the side of the road, just a few feet off the blacktop, watching me approach. I slowed down to a crawl. Did it flee into the woods? Of course not. It waited until I was perhaps six feet away, then dashed across the road in front of my car.

    As a motorcyclist, I’m keenly aware of the hazard posed by deer. I recall reading that in one Eastern state there were about 20 human fatalities due to vehicle-deer collisions during a certain period. Of these, 17 were motorcyclists.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    They are all over MA . I have a 10 point buck in my neighborhood, He is practically tame. He likes my apples. IMO, deer season should be doubled in length. Turkeys and Canada geese are waay too plentiful as well.

  • avatar

    Tips to avoid/survive pedestrian accidents:

    1) Be attentive, be aware. Scan the sides of the road, not just straight ahead (use your peripheral vision).

    2. When you see people (whether standing or moving), warning signs or simply suspect you may be driving through their habitat, slow down.

    3) Use your high-beams (dim where appropriate).

    4) DO NOT SWERVE to avoid a collision with a pedestrian. A sudden loss of vehicle control is far more dangerous than people impact. Brake and hold the wheel straight.

    5) Do not stop in the middle of the road post-homocide. Move your vehicle off the road and out of [further] harm’s way as soon as possible.

    Sorry…Just struck me as funny.

  • avatar

    And turn on your damn hazard lights. It’s amazing how many break-downs and accidents I see where people don’t turn them on, and almost get smacked by traffic, especially at night.

  • avatar

    I glanced off one with my TDI a few years back, just before Christmas. It was somewhere close to zero out that night so everything plastic inside the front fender shattered. Had an antler/hoof dent in the hood and a windshield covered with deer snot. The deer? Got up and ran off into the woods.

    German engineering indeed.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Bring back the cougars.

  • avatar

    I saw this one at the local gun club. The first shot was the teaser shot, and I thought why would you shoot a deer and put it in your front seat. No, no. The deer put itself there. Lucky driver.

  • avatar

    We need a longer deer season. There are way to many of them. 5 years ago, I never saw a deer in my suburban Detroit town. Now, we have the most deer related accidents in the state of MI, which is number two according to onerareviper’s article. The county sheriff started a program where trained sheriffs dept. sharpshooters were allowed to shoot them anywhere they deemed safe. Of course some animal loving hippies protested, and the city council ended it. Now they are running around everywhere, eating my garden, etc. I have had way to many close calls. Two of them in particular would have been resulted in some serious damage if I hadn’t swerved, so I can’t say that I agree with that theory RF.

    The funny thing is, I have now seen a wolf on two occasions, as have some other people I now. Our city council didn’t connect the dots, that if the deer are here in huge numbers, the wolves will follow. I would laugh if they or someone they new ended up being a victim of a wolf attack.

  • avatar

    Never had a close call with a deer, actually, can’t even recall seeing a deer roadside (even when I used to live next to, and drive through, PA fairly often). Then again, I stayed out of the sticks up there, and down here, I figure whatever deer there are, the gators pretty much keep them under control. I hear lots of stories from people who lived in South Florida 10 or 20 years ago about how Alligator Ally used to be riddled with crossing cougars, gators, snakes, etc, but since the underpasses and fences have gone up, all that is in the past.

    I have on numerous occasions though almost run down dumbass people riding bikes without reflectors, wearing all dark clothes at night and walking right on the road, and trying to run across four and six lane highways, in between traffic, often stopping midlane to let a car pass then running again instead of waiting for a big enough opening to cross calmly or just finding an overpass/crosswalk. As callous as it may sound, I almost feel more sorry for the deer than pedestrians who bring accidents upon themselves by not following basic safety protocols. Thinking back to elementary school, ‘look both ways’ was right up there with ‘stop drop and roll’ in disaster prevention. Bright clothing for being out at night, reflectors on bikes, and not walking in the lane of the road were right up there too.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    We figured it was nothing much and continued to drive home.

    There I was in my new convertible, cruising Padre Island National Park road at 11 p.m. Nothing but me, a beautiful crisp night, the top down (on the car), and Steely Dan playing. Not a soul had been seen for miles, and for those of you not familiar with the park road it goes from 60 to 40 to 30 to 20 and bam, you’re on the beach facing the Gulf.

    I was going SLOWER than the limit when OHSHIT as the deer darts out from the weeds (there’s really NOTHING ELSE OUT THERE) and tries to jump OVER the front end. The fender catches him, he rolls off to the side, and I look forward to see if there’s any damage, worried that the rest of the herd was going to bounding along momentarily. Everything looks kosher from the driver seat, so I keep cruising, ride around the beach a bit, then head back up to Corpus.

    Passing the spot where we met, there is no deer (probably back at the lodge, bragging that while the commoners were leaping at 4x4s, etc, he went the extra mile to nail a Scandinavian convertible. I’m sure a bonus was involved).

    I get back to Corpus and stop to gas up, walking around to the front of the car. WHERE THE HELL IS 50% OF THE FRONT CLIP? Just headlights and grill openings. No trim. Nothing.

    Later I discovered I was very lucky a) the deer didn’t join me in the car; and b) if I had hit him full-on the car would have suffered far more serious damage.

    As rare as I drive out in the country, I’m mighty skittish these days.

  • avatar

    Lost a car to a deer at 60. Saw it three seconds before it spun around and bound into my path. You would have said that no animal alive was athletic enough to pull it off. I can still see the leaps. Like something out of Africa. Three of them and then perfect intersection.

    At the side of the road a cop said it was the largest doe he’d seen. So am I lucky or what? I let the cop take it. They had some program where the meat was used to feed the needy.

    Bartered the wreck for a loaded 84-1/2 Volvo 242 Turbo. Lesson, deer can do improbable, no I’d say impossible things. Keep that in mind.

  • avatar

    I was stuck behind a semi truck that hit a deer on NYS route 74 one night. What was left of it hit the grill of my car, rolled under, and off the right rear tire.

    Took a good 30 minutes at an all-night car wash to get all the bits of fur off. Still, it would have been much worse if the truck hadn’t been there. I was glad I hadn’t found room to pass him.

  • avatar

    Odd that the airbags didn’t activate?

    The airbag is triggered by sudden deceleration. A 4000lb car hitting a 160lb deer isn’t going to decelerate that much.

    That being said I had a co-worker who hit one with her rental car. Pulled into the AVIS lot at the airport with the smashed front end splattered with deer guts. Well…it was Avis’s problem now.

  • avatar

    I hunt every year. You can thank me later. What is also needed are longer deer seasons and they need to lift these silly restrictions on firearms and allow shotgun and rifle for three straight months. Just one year out of three would do the trick. They can give the deer a chance the other 2 years.

    People have been killed by deer coming through the windshield or causing the car to leave the road. A deer can damage the car enough so you lose control and enter the opposite lane. Then the deer has company in heaven.

  • avatar
    Stu Sidoti

    Even though for 90% of my life I have lived in deer country , I have never hit one. Thank God.
    Although last Fall, I hit a large raccoon at about 80mph one evening. The poor feller went through the front bumper, destroying the lower grille and foglight, tore off the fender’s inner liner and once we stopped, a lot of his fur was trapped between the bead and the rim…Nasty stuff.
    As someone mentioned above, when it comes to deer, keep your eyes constantly scanning for eye-glow. Recognition of eye-glow might just give you a critical extra second to hopefully avoid the collision.

  • avatar

    In Oregon the same rules apply to hippies. Especially the part about not stopping.

  • avatar


    That Deer got turned into pasta !

  • avatar

    I lost my beloved Riviera to a deer on I-70 in Kansas. Clipped the bastard’s hind leg, but didn’t kill it. I finished him off with a tire iron I kept for emergencies (flat tires, road rage) partly to put him out of his misery, but mostly because I was pissed about my car. It amuses me that when hunting deer the slightest twig snapping will cause a deer to flee, but a car hurtling at it at 80 mph causes it to pause and stare. Go figure.

  • avatar

    Our driving test actually has a question on the right way to hit a deer (release the brakes just before impact, try and hit with a corner to reduce the chance of it going through the windshield)

    I hear that moose collisions are much more likely to be fatal. Give the size of those things, I’m happy to just take their word for it.

  • avatar

    They have trouble running on roads. Hooves don’t offer any traction and they sometimes get stuck in the road flailing around. I came upon 5 of them sitting on a road at night. Lot’s of blue smoke on the tires but I did not hit any.

  • avatar

    The two times I’ve hit does it was the middle of the day with good visibility at 55+. I was unlucky in that they jumped out of the brush where my reaction time wasn’t a factor. One of them did a flying spiral above my car after the initial hit and denting my trunk down, too!

  • avatar

    Perhaps next time that Police Officer decides to speed (at night), he’ll consider using his siren.

  • avatar

    I have seen deer in VERY urban areas in chicago (294 & touhy — for those of you who know the area)

    I was on my bike on the time and I saw the thing run around half way across the road (he was probably over 1/2 a mile away from me) and stop in the median, and then jump into the left lane and stand there. Cars started swerving like crazy but nobody stopped. I was as far away as possible when I passed him.

    Not sure if he made it across or not.

    Now that we have construction on 294, I tend to take the express lane northbound since the deer has to leap 3 concrete barriers in order to get into the lane. The problem is that when people crash in the expresslane (one lane, no shoulder, 4-5′ high concrete walls on both sides), you simply get out of your car & sit on the hood until help arrives.

    Ain’t no way you are getting out.

  • avatar

    I almost hit one last winter.
    Driving on the edge, ca 60mph, going through a corner when a deer comes running across the road, slips on the icy road, slides on its ass down in the ditch.
    Luckily, i didn´t have time to brake, just let off the gas.
    If i had managed to brake, i would have landed in the ditch.
    I nearly had to change underwear after that.

  • avatar

    After three “more than close” encounters with deer, I learned a few things:

    1) Deer don’t carry insurance.

    2) If you’re on a highway with tractor-trailers, get behind one of the big rigs and let them lead interference.

    3) If you see a reflector on or along the road, and that reflector moves all of a sudden – chances are, it’s an animal…

    4) Situational awareness – be alert and constantly scan your surroundings – and I don’t mean yapping on the phone or playing with some electronic gizmo while doing so…

  • avatar

    …and as far as longer deer hunting seasons are concerned, I’ll only say this:

    Gentlemen (and ladies) – FIRE AT WILL!!!

  • avatar

    “post-Bambicide”…what a way to start the day. How I am supposed to do any work now?

  • avatar

    If deer had amber eyes we could see them sooner.

  • avatar

    Thank a hunter otherwise more of that would happen then it does.

  • avatar

    I was hit by a deer on a semi-rural road outside of Toronto last fall. It ran up an embankment onto the road directly into the front passenger side of my car causing $10,000 damage. My wife saw the deer just before it hit and from what I can piece together it was an 8 point buck and it somehow still managed to cross the road afterward. Anyhow the Police showed up and the office (a female) didn’t want to have to go put “Bambi” down so they called in another office who was a hunter. He couldn’t track it due to the rain but was going to come back out in the morning to track it down and put it down as he doubted it could survive the impact and might be severely hurt and live for a day or two until it dies. The officer was quite nice, he was willing to share the meat with me but I declined as I dint think my wife would like eating BBQ Bambi for dinner.

  • avatar

    Re: GS650G

    I backpack a lot. Every time I come across a gut-pile I smile. Don’t forget those tasty big Does!

  • avatar

    Great, GREAT writing obbop… That was good.

  • avatar

    Paul Niedermeyer:

    “Here’s what happens when you (and the deer) are not so lucky:”

    I’ve detailed engines before, but no amount of money is going to get to clean that one!

  • avatar

    Deer exist because something had to be the world’s stupidest mammal.

    I’ve nearly hit a couple and I’ve seen them hit. They are a growing presence in our Twin Cities suburbs and additional hunting opportunities are sometimes created (DNR culls in parks and so forth – not always for the general public).

    Along I-80, though, in PA, may be worse. Their carcasses always seem to be about as common as mile markers there.

  • avatar

    Do deer on I-294 have I-Pass? It IS a toll road.

    Two deer jumped across I-57 on a clear summer Saturday last weekend in the middle of farm country. It was still dangerous – leaping out of the gutter, onto the road, looking stupid, then finally scrambling off as the two other cars around me hit their brakes.

    It’s the closest encounter I have had anywhere, except in Michigan.

  • avatar

    There are something like 20,000 deer/vehicle accidents in Michigan every year due to the large whitetail population. I’ve seen live deer (besides the fallow deer herd on Belle Isle which were not originally wild) within 5 miles of the Detroit city limits. When I spent time in the Upper Peninsula, you’d see deer just about every time you’d drive at dawn or dusk. I remember a very stately buck, a doe and a fawn coming out of the morning mist on US 2 on the Lake Huron shoreline.

    Years ago my dad hit a deer on US80 in Penn. The car was a ’66 Olds 88, w/ a 425. The car easily weighed two tons. The deer took out everything from the grille to the water pump.

  • avatar

    Only animal my car has crunched undertire is a possum on the Turnpike. Maybe I shouldn’t have swerved because the moment i swerved, it started running and that cause my left front tire to say hello to its midsection. If I hadn’t swerved it probably would’ve passed underneath with nary a scratch save maybe a warning…

  • avatar

    Moose are much worse, I would rather take a chance of swerving and flipping my car than hitting an animal that weighs 800 pounds and having it launched through my windshield after I hit it. A kid in my area was killed about 10 years ago when his mother hit a deer and it went into the back of the car and started kicking. It kicked him in the head a few dozen times apparently. As for hitting one on a bike, a friend of mine did that. Broke some ribs, his collarbone, and his wrist. He said the only good thing he heard after he hit was the guns shots as the police put the offending animal down.

  • avatar

    I’ve never had the misfortune of a deer strike despite living in State #5 for 4.5 years and State #7 for the past 2.5 years. When I was a kid my grandfather was driving my parents’ minivan and struck two deer somewhere between Annapolis and Columbia, MD. Both managed to cross the road after being struck and damage to the van was repairable, but the hood had to be tied down.

    I knew a guy in college who totalled a WS6 Firebird swerving to avoid an opossum in Virginia. I think he wound up hitting it anyway but dropped a wheel off the road in the process causing a loss of control and secondary wreck that totaled the car (either a ditch or a tree).

    My dad had a buddy swerve to avoid a fox in Delaware and rolled his Saab 900. I recall he also lost some expensive sunglasses out the open sunroof during the roll.

    My buddy’s old 96 F250 Powerstroke took a Jeep Cherokee at 45mph in the front right fender (my friend’s fault pulling out in traffic). A bumper, fender, wheel/tire and alignment was all it took. Those Cherokees aren’t all that resilient, no wonder a deer could take one.

  • avatar

    I’ve heard that there are more deer today in the USA than when Columbus discovered the New World, due to lack of predators. Unless you want them (cougars, wolves, and bears) in your neighborhood you should support hunting as a means of population control.

  • avatar

    I had a deer coming in front of the car from the right once. Going about 40 at the time, I swerved to the left and accelerated, instead of hitting the deer head on, she ran into the passenger door, bounced back and ran off. Nice dent in the door, but no problem. If I didn’t swerve and braked instead, that would’ve been the end for the deer and the little 86 camry I was driving.

    Anyhow rules were made to be broken, as the situation demands.

  • avatar

    Not too long after getting my drivers license I hit a doe at 45 mph with a 1974 International Scout II. I never stopped, just when straight home. My dad pulled the stamped metal grill out of the radiator, checked the radiator to make sure it wasn’t leaking, and told me to go get the headlights realigned.

    a few years later I’m driving the same road in a 1978 Chevette. A group of three big bucks come bounding down the hill and cross the road right in front of me. By the grace of God I somehow managed to miss all of them.

  • avatar

    Buddy hit a deer at ~55 mph a year or two ago in an older 626. Blew both bags, messed up the front sheetmetal, front plastic, front lights, windshield and the airbags blowing broke the dash in several places. Despite being high mileage he fixed it all with junkyard parts and the car was whole again for cheap plus ALOT of hours. Paint matched well, etc.

    My father hit a cow once in about 1987!! Herd was standing in the road around a blind turn/hill. Big cow ruined all the front sheetmetal on Dad’s ’84 turbo T-bird. He fixed it and painted it himself and the damage had no lasting effects. Dad said the cow rolled up on the hood and then back off. When it got to it’s feet it gave Dad the worst insulted look. Fortunately Dad found the owner at the Co-Op down the road and informed the guy that his herd was out in the road. The guy paid for the repair.

    We travel often through a rural area going to see the Grandparents. Added big lights to the front of our CR-V tied to the high beams and it was shocking to see how many deer stand along the side of the road. Never hit one though we have had one deer jump out in front of us and slip and slide due to poor asphalt to hoof traction. I had plenty of time to slow down.

    I ride through the area in a vintage VW bus and motorcycle (similar safety standards) and am pretty careful.

    Good lighting and brakes are important.

  • avatar

    This looks like a cop car hitting the deer.

  • avatar


    Not too long ago I was coming home through a rural area on my motorcycle and saw the occasional deer. I slowed down, went to the right, and then followed 2-3 seconds stopping distance behind a semi for about 30 miles hoping it would pulverize anything that would run out on the road.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • conundrum: Good to see that GM has finally just passed the power per litre levels of normally aspirated Cosworth...
  • Arthur Dailey: @Pmirp: Every one of your statements is objectively incorrect. And largely demonstrate why the USA is...
  • Ol Shel: It’s time to move past hideously-emitting gas-powered lawn equipment. Don’t let the fools on...
  • revjasper: (Pushes glasses up further, index finger to tape on bridge…) Well actually… They’re...
  • dusterdude: I’ll be logged in on 26th ready to book my reservation !

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber