Last month, near the Star City exit in Morgantown, Monongalia County on Interstate-79, a man was killed at approximately 2 in the morning when attempted to avoid hitting a deer. Consequently, the driver lost control of his 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe causing the vehicle to roll several times and crash.
As drivers, we know there are many conditions to be aware of when driving. In West Virginia, potholes caused from winter along with debris and trash can cause major damage to a vehicle. However, West Virginia motorists are most likely to hit a deer compared to drivers in other states in the nation. On average, one in every 39 West Virginians will hit a deer. Car crashes that involve animals typically bring about $3,000.00 in vehicle repairs. Even worse, they kill approximately 175 people in the United States each year. While this may seem like a relatively small number, it continues to rise, and is highest throughout our own state.
Unlike wearing your seatbelt, along with other preventative action, vehicular crashes involving deer are unpredictable and the spontaneity within the nature of the animal can cause damage, injury, and even death. Here are some simple guidelines to you should be familiar with in order to be prepared in this type of situation.
1. Understand their timing. Deer are most active when the sun is rising and setting. Slow down and be on the guard, particularly after dark.
2. Make sure your seatbelt is fastened. It may not protect against a motor vehicle collision, but it can assist in reducing injuries and death. It will also be very helpful if you lose control and hit a much larger and more stationary object, like a tree.
3. Be on alert for other deer. If you see one, there are often more in front or following the one you have noticed. Therefore, even if one has crossed the street, be aware of subsequent deer.
4. Watch for road signs. The Department of Transportation often installs yellow diamond signs with deer pictured in order to bring attention to the highly populated traffic area in which deer tend to utilize.
5. Do not swerve! If you see a deer, brake resolutely and calmly and stay in your lane. Quickly changing directions can make you lose control of your vehicle and cause much more damage to your vehicle, not to mention severe bodily harm.
6. Use your horns! Some studies show that one long honk from your car horn will frighten them enough to stay out of the road.