"Fun" Facts About Deer Vehicle Collisions
Per State Farm Insurance and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
1. If you live in West Virginia, you have about a 1 in 40 chance of having a close encounter of the unfortunate kind with a deer over a 12 month period.
2. Hawaii is the safest state to avoid a DVC. Your risk over a 12 month period is roughly the same as getting hit by lightning over your lifetime.
3. In Texas, where I live, the odds are 1 in 334.
4. Between July, 2011 and June, 2012, 1.23 MILLION collisions in the U. S. involved the presence of deer.
5. The average property damage cost was $3,305.
6. Approximately 200 Americans are killed in DVCs annually, and more than 10,000 are injured.
7. Thankfully, I am not one of the statistics listed in #6 above.
Yep, boys and girls, that is deer fur you see embedded in the driver's side running board of my SUV. The only proof I have of my encounter with Bambi yesterday morning. Prior to this the largest animal I've ever hit was a squirrel who lost playing Chicken.
I was on my way to Lawton, OK to help my son with phase 1 of his move to Louisiana. About 30 miles or so south of Wichita Falls on Hwy 287 (northbound lanes), I was attempting to gauge when it was safe to merge back into the driving lane after passing an 18-wheeler, when there was a tremendous jolt on the left side. My first split-second thought was that I had run over something in the road, something I had failed to see due to my preoccupation with the semi-truck. I looked in my side view mirror just in time to see that "something" go flying back and out to the left and, more ominously, a spray of chunky stuff. I knew it had to be a deer. The reason I knew this was because I had passed a deer crossing sign not five minutes previously.
I have passed many of these ubiquitous signs and have never seen anything resembling a deer by the highway. So no surprise when I gave this particular sign with its "next 10 miles" scant attention. Call me crazy, but I'm a lot more concerned with people in cars than deer on the hoof.
I pulled over onto the shoulder and the trucker I had just passed pulled up behind me. He had witnessed the collision and wanted to make sure I was okay, so here's a shout-out to this Knight of the Road for his caring gesture. He certainly affirmed my faith in the basic goodness of people. We both looked at my SUV and except for the hair on the running board, there was no visible damage. I still find it hard to believe the impact didn't leave a dent.
Thinking it over, I'm very glad I never saw Bambi bearing down on me. The deer presumably charged from clear across the other side of the highway and then across a wide grassy median before plowing into my vehicle (see the picture above). If I had seen the animal, I don't know how I would have reacted and what chain of events might have been set in motion in the wake of that --- especially at 75 mph and with an 18-wheeler to my right. I was lucky. Bambi, not so much. I feel badly that I killed the poor thing, and I hope it was instantaneous. I would hate to think it suffered, even for just a few seconds.
On the return trip that afternoon, you can bet I had a lot more respect for that simple sign and what it represents.
Deer Crossing Sign: http://littlewhitelion.com/hilarious-signs-that-prove-people-have-a-sense-of-humor-13-pics-34183/
Highway 287: http://www.aaroads.com/texas/us-287nn_tx.html
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