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COLUMN: Oh, deer! Tips to drive safely this fall

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By Shannon Brock

It might sound crazy, but I’m blaming my car’s Monday morning flat tire on a deer.
No, it’s antlers didn’t puncture a hole in my tire, and it didn’t get mad and stomp in the tire with its hooves, but I have to blame the flat tire on something and the deer just fits the bill.
According to the Kentucky State Police, deer are on the move throughout Kentucky in November because autumn has finally arrived and deer hunting season is still pending.
November is traditionally the heart of deer migration and mating season creating greater potential for deer-car crashes, according to a KSP news release.
You see, this is why a particular deer was responsible for my flat tire.
A little over a year ago (last November) my husband swerved to miss a deer and, after over correcting, hit a tree.
My husband wasn’t hurt in the crash (or believe me, I wouldn’t be making light of the situation), but my poor little car had certainly seen better days.
Anyway, since its repair, the front tire on the injured side of the car just hasn’t been the same. I’ve had two flat tires and just as many lost wheel covers.
So, to keep you from blaming deer for your trouble a year from now, I offer some safety tips provided via news release by Lt. David Jude, spokesperson for KSP:

·Be extra cautious in the early morning and evening hours. Deer are most active during these low-light periods when humans see worst and reaction time is slow.

·Stay alert when driving through a known deer-crossing zone. If you see one deer, look for more. They often travel in herds.

·Drive at a moderate speed, especially on roads bordering woodlands, parklands, golf courses and streams. However, remember that many deer crashes occur on busy highways near cities.

·Use high beam headlights if there is no oncoming traffic. High beams will reflect in the eyes of deer on or near the roadway, providing increased driver reaction time.

·Upon seeing a deer, immediately slow down. Do not swerve — this could confuse the deer about where to run. It could also cause you to lose control and hit a tree or another car. It is generally safer to hit the deer rather than running off the road or risking injury to other motorists.

·Deer are often unpredictable, especially when faced with blinding headlights, loud horns and fast-moving vehicles. Don’t expect them to stay where they are. They can dart in front of you at the last moment, stop in the middle of the road, cross quickly and return to the road or even move toward an approaching vehicle.

·Deer whistles on cars provide little help and blowing the car horn doesn’t always solve the problem. Blowing the horn may cause them to move, but not necessarily in the direction you want.

·Always wear your safety belt. Historically, most people injured or killed in deer/auto collisions were not properly restrained.