With auto accidents involving deer rising daily, I thought this would be a great time to remind all citizens to take extra caution this time of year. Did you know that each year there are approximately 500,000 deer/auto collisions resulting in over 100 deaths and thousands of injuries? With Wilson County’s growth and the urban sprawl, the deer population is being forced out of the woods and into our neighborhoods and on our roadways. Deer are most likely to come out between the months of October thru January, but are apt to come out at anytime of the year. Deer also tend to come out between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. or early in the morning hours.
According to statistics, automobiles make up 61 percent of the animal/deer related crashes, trucks 26 percent, vans 7 percent and tractor trailers 2 percent. But keep in mind, those are only statistics.
The following are defensive driving tips for avoiding deer/animal collisions:
1. Be vigilant in the early morning hours, the most active time for deer.
2. Use your high-beam headlights, which reflect in the deer’s eyes, to see the deer better.
3. Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away.
4. Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path. Do not swerve. It can confuse the deer about which way to run. It can also cause you to lose control and crash.
5. Be alert and aware at all times. Drive with caution.
6. Always wear your seat belt. Most people killed or injured in deer/animal collisions weren’t wearing seat belts.
7. Look for other deer after one has crossed the road. Deer seldom run alone.
8. Be prepared for anything at anytime and anywhere!
In closing, our roadways can be a very dangerous place to travel in the first place and any unexpected obstacles only make the process that more dangerous. So please buckle up, slow down and drive safely. We can’t afford to lose any of our most precious cargo.