I make my living on the radio, but the other day I was on the other side of the dial when the newscaster on the station I was listening to warned about the dangers of deer.
He offered tips to drivers about how to avoid colliding with them. They amount to slowing down and remaining vigilant, especially in the early morning and evening hours.
He also offered advice about what to do if such a collision seems imminent: resign yourself to crashing, brake if you can but do NOT swerve to avoid making a bad situation worse by crashing into other cars on the road.
This warning wasn’t the first I’ve run across over the past few weeks. I’ve already seen several media stories about the potential for deer crashes because IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR – deer are on the move looking for mates and wandering into traffic more often as a result.
The insurance giant State Farm makes it easy to report on the potential for deer crashes. Each year, it ranks the states where drivers are most likely to hit a deer or some other large animal such as an elk or a moose.
This year’s rankings came out about a month ago, with West Virginia occupying its usual place AT. THE. TOP.
According to State Farm, one out of every 41 West Virginia drivers will likely file a claim involving deer this year.
I’m already hyper-aware of the potential. Several years ago, I filed a claim when I hit a deer so hard it made my car spin around on the interstate, and I regularly have close calls on my commute to Washington, D.C.
Just this week, I was driving home from work when a young buck almost wandered into my path. It appeared distracted, as if it were playing Pokémon Go on a smartphone.
I don’t know if honking was the right thing to do, but if that buck really was looking for Pokémon by the side of the road, the sudden sound of my car’s horn snapped him back into reality. The deer turned on a dime and darted for the safety of the tree line.
Deer get bold this time of year, and that includes the family that lives in our neighborhood. They’ve been so brazen lately, I wouldn’t be surprised if mom and dad send their fawns trick-or-treating this Halloween.
Dressing them up as some sort of Pokémon character seems like a good bet. Many of them already have four-legs and hooves.
The more politically aware deer could simply wear Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton masks, but with such a contentious election, that might be more dangerous than wandering into traffic.
If I were them, I would skip Halloween, stay off the roads, and stick to grazing in my wife’s garden.