Thursday, October 17, 2013

Where There’s One – There are Usually Two

Cooler temperatures, trees changing colors, football season starting---it all means fall is rapidly approaching.  That also means deer will be starting to move about a little more.  Since they aren't very good about looking both ways before crossing the street, it’s up to drivers to avoid car-versus-deer accidents.
 If you have never seen what happens when a vehicle and a deer collide, take it from us, it can result in extensive damage to both vehicles and living creatures.  In 2012 Overland Park police took 59 accident reports involving animals.
With that said, here are a few tips to help you avoid crashing into Bambi or a member of his family:
*Scan the road while you are driving, but pay particularly close attention around sunrise and sunset.  Not only are these times when deer are most active, but the lighting at dawn and dusk can make visibility even more of a challenge.

*Use high beams for nighttime driving, when possible.  The roadway shoulder areas will be more visible.  Don’t forget, though, to dim your high beams as you approach other motorists.

*Pay attention if you see other drivers slowing or flashing their high beams.  They may be trying to tell you there’s a deer ahead.

*Remember that deer frequently travel in pairs, or even larger groups.  Just because you miss one, that doesn't mean you should put your guard down. There could be more in the area.

*Know when you shouldn't swerve.  This one is important because some accidents, like the fatality accident Overland Park officers worked a few years ago on Quivira, happen when a driver swerves to avoid a deer and then loses control of the vehicle and strikes something else.  In most cases, it’s better to brake firmly and try to minimize a potential impact than it is to swerve.

If you do find yourself involved in an accident with a deer, make sure that no one, other than the deer, is injured.  Call police to let them know you have been involved in an accident.  If arrangements need to be made to put the deer down or remove the deer from the roadway an officer will be dispatched.  This will give you a chance to make an accident report, or you can walk in an accident report later, if that is more convenient.