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I swerve for deer.

I swerve for deer

photo courtesy Ted Jones

Actually, I don’t. But truth be told, I haven’t been tested.

Though every couple of days another dead deer hits the shoulder along the 10-mile stretch between my place and town, when deer leap into the road ahead of me I’ve always had time enough to brake without putting myself into a tailspin.The other thing that helps? I just don’t have nearly as many opportunities for as most drivers do; I take the bus to town most days. (I probably should credit TCAT for my great driving record.) So anyway, it’s a half-mile walk downhill from my place to the trailer park where the bus turns around—and just a few days ago I saw right off I see this blue car rear-ended into a tree. No one there and a shaky note scrawled on a scrap of cardboard under the windshield wiper: swerved to miss a deer and crashed, will pay 4 fence, along with a phone number.

Most of us instinctively swerve when a deer, dog, or squirrel bounds into the road. Who wants to maim Bambi or some kid’s pet? I met someone once who as a 20-year-old wrapped around a tree to keep from hitting a black lab and she’s still in that wheelchair two decades later; she can even talk now, sort of. I’ve rehearsed the mantra don’t swerve, don’t swerve, don’t … often enough with every bloody roadkilled critter I see that who knows, I might—might—do the rational thing some night when it’s right there and I’m out of other options., with precious little time to double-check for oncoming traffic, for loose gravel, soft shoulders, steep ditches or big trees, brake as hard as conditions allow … and then swerve if I can.True, some animals you don’t want to hit. Horses. Cows. Moose. Bears. Animals that weigh half as much as your car; that pack a wallop when they fly through the windshield and into your lap. But do you really want to go head-to-head with that milk truck in the other lane either?

But while the occasional bear, horse, or car (and highly unoccasional moose) wanders onto the highways here in the Finger Lakes at dawn or dusk—the worst time for vehicular encounters with wildlife—a day hardly goes by that you don’t see deer.

Learn more:

http://blogs.northjersey.com/blogs/roadwarrior/comments/See_a_deer_Dont_swerve_to_avoid_it/

http://www.cultureofsafety.com/safety-tips/deer-vs-car-collisions/

… and about those moose: http://www.theheartofnewengland.com/lifeinnewengland/Tips/moose-driving-tips.html