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Be watchful for deer even in urban areas

by on December 11, 2015
While this statue of a big buck watches over downtown Columbus, AEP employees are reminded that deer are on the move this time of year, even in urban areas. In the background is the AEP headquarters building.

(Story by Ann Marie Keifer)

This is the time of year when deer are out roaming around, and it’s not just in rural areas.

Deer cause thousands of vehicle accidents every year. Deer will cross roads at any time of day or night, creating a hazard for the vehicles, passengers and the deer. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, here are some driving tips to help prevent collisions:

  • Deer are most active at dawn and dusk. Be especially watchful during these times.
  • One deer crossing the road may be a sign that more deer are about to cross. Watch for other deer— they will move fast to catch up with leaders, mothers or mates and may not pay attention to traffic.
  • When you see brake lights, it could be because the driver ahead of you has spotted a deer. Stay alert as you drive by the spot, as more deer could try to cross.
  • Wonder why the person ahead is driving so slowly? The driver may know where to slow down and be extra alert for deer. Don’t be too quick to pass and be alert.
  • Take note of deer-crossing signs and drive accordingly. They were put there for a reason.
  • Try to drive more slowly at night, giving yourself time to see a deer with your headlights. Lowering the brightness of your dashboard lights slightly will make it easier to see deer.
  • Be especially watchful when traveling near steep roadside banks. Deer will pop onto the roadway with little or no warning.
  • Be aware that headlights confuse deer and may cause them to move erratically or stop. Young animals in particular do not recognize that vehicles are a threat.
  • Deer hooves slip on pavement and a deer may fall in front of your vehicle just when you think it is jumping away.

If a collision with a deer seems imminent, take your foot off the accelerator and brake lightly. However, it’s important to keep a firm hold on the steering wheel while keeping the vehicle straight. Do not swerve in an attempt to miss the deer. Insurance adjusters claim that more car damage and personal injury is caused when drivers attempt to avoid collision with a deer and instead collide with guardrails or roll down grades.

From → Safety

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