According to studies, Iowa is the second most likely state to hit a deer in. The odds of a collision, over a year, is 1 in every 67 drivers. Anyone who has ever totalled their car in an accident with a deer can attest that the animals can be a danger, especially to new drivers who don’t know what to watch for. Here are a few tips to help out and safely get you to your relatives for the holidays:
- Pay attention to the signs. Those animal crossing signs mean that it’s their territory and to be on the lookout.
- Actively scan the sides of the road for wildlife. Both sides too. Most drivers tend to only focus on the passenger side of the vehicle. It helps to get passengers involved too but make sure they don’t startle the driver if they do spot something. Watch for flashing eyes.
- Drive at a safe speed. It is recommended that drivers don’t exceed 55 MPH in a wildlife or crossing area.
- Be extra cautious at sunset and dawn. Deer tend to be most active from sunset to midnight and then again at sunrise.
- Deer travel in herds. If you see one animal cross don’t speed up. Chances are you’ll just hit another one following the leader.
- Honk your horn if you see a deer near the road. The point of this is twofold. First, it can alert other drivers to the animals. Second, it lets the deer know where you’re coming from and can scare it away from the road. That being said though . . .
- Expect everything. Don’t assume the animal will run away or keep moving. Sometimes they will backtrack. Bucks have been known to charge parked or moving cars.
- Finally, try not to swerve. While hitting a deer can be dangerous, hitting other drivers can be deadly. Don’t leave your lane to avoid an accident.