Is road kill killing our roads?
Every morning, or afternoon, as I drive to and from work I see what seems to be the final resting place for God’s little critters. While some leave a wrank scent in my nose, like a three week old gym sock, others simply leave me in awe.
It never fails; I always see at least five dead deer on the road every day. And although I wonder who is the brave soul that’s going to have to clean up that mess, but how bad was the other guy. You see it on TV all the time. Someone’s driving down the road and “BOOM!” out of nowhere a deer just jumps out in front of the car, smashes it and they run off for a little while longer.
So after pondering this thought off and on for the next few days I decided to call Erik Maninga, Area Engineer for MoDOT, and according to him they are the ones who, more often than not, are the brave souls who have to clean that mess up.
“We always say to make sure people buckle up when getting in their car, because deer caused accidents can be easily fatal,” explained Maninga. “It seems deer like to move more in the dawn and evening hours, which also happens to be the two busiest times of day for commuters.”
It sounds like bad time management for the deer if you ask me. Anyway, approximately 1.5 million deer are hit a year and cause approximately 74,000 road accidents a year, according to new figures from the National Deer Collisions Project.
“When driving, especially in the evening hours, you have to pay attention,” said Maninga. “The other thing is, if you’re out there and can do so without obstructing traffic, turn your high beams on; it will give you a lot more of a visual area to see.”
Some other tips are: drive with extreme caution in areas with deer crossing signs. If you see one or more deer on or near a roadway, expect others may follow. If a collision with a deer seems imminent, focus on maintaining full control of your vehicle. Keep in mind that rural roads are narrower than city roads and drivers should keep that in mind when driving at night because this makes it more difficult to maneuver. Finally, and this is more my advice, use common sense. Don’t do 80 mph in a 60; actually for that matter, don’t do 40 mph in a 60 either, it’s just mean.
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