With the start of cooler, fall weather, local drivers are spotting more deer in and near roadways.
Sergeant Garic Warner, with the Marietta Post of Ohio State Highway Patrol, said speed is a key factor in avoiding a deer. “The faster you’re going, the longer it’s going to take you to get stopped. So anytime you’re driving you want to observe posted speed limits and drive for the conditions – the speed limit may be 55 miles per hour…but there may be fog, it’s nighttime, or it’s raining…and 55 may not be safe.”
Warner recommends drivers to use their brights to more easily spot deer at night. “Anytime you increase your visibility, your chances of avoiding something on the roadway also increases,” says Warner.
Though he warns that brights can work against you in foggy conditions and limit your visibility. “In those conditions, either use fog lights if your car is equipped with them, or just use your regular headlights.”
If you do see a deer in the road and don’t have enough time to stop, Warner advises against swerving.
“You never want to leave your lane when you don’t know it’s safe to do say,” explains Warner. “Because then you run the risk of driving off the roadway or driving into another vehicle. We’ve had several crashes over the years, where people swerve to miss a dear, and end up in worse shape because they went off the road, or overturned, or hit an oncoming car.”
Warner recognizes that nobody wants to hit a deer, but in his experience, very few deer collisions result in serious damage or injury.
“The deer are relatively low to the ground and rarely come up into the windshield, as long as you’re not speeding,” notes Warner, “I couldn’t even tell you the last time somebody was injured in a deer crash, it’s so rare.”
If you do hit a deer on the road, only call 911 if injury occurs. Otherwise, call city police at 373.4141 or the Highway Patrol at 374.6616. If you can’t remember that number, Warner says drivers may also call the tip line for help, which is #677.
It’s also a good idea to program non-urgent numbers for police, sheriff, and patrol into your cell phone to help keep the 911 lines open for emergencies.