It’s always important to watch out for deer when driving in Georgia—especially during their most active hours at dusk and dawn. However, late fall and early winter are the most dangerous months as far as deer collisions are concerned. Even in the highly developed suburbs of Atlanta, there are deer everywhere (as well as raccoons, opossums, armadillos, squirrels, skunks, and coyotes), so it’s important to learn how to avoid animal collisions with your car.
Tips for Avoiding Animal Collisions
Sometimes animal collisions with cars are unavoidable. However, if you keep these driving safety tips in mind, you can significantly reduce the likelihood that you’ll hit an animal with your vehicle. That’s a win-win-win for you, the local wildlife, and of course, your car!
Stay alert and consider activity levels when planning your trips.
Deer (the most common large animals involved in collisions here) are most active at dawn and dusk, but they are especially active during their breeding season— late fall/early winter in Georgia. Consider planning your trips to avoid driving at their peak activity times, which also happen to be the times that are hardest for humans to see. If you can’t avoid driving during those peak activity hours, it’s even more important to stay alert and watch the edges of the roadway for signs of deer. If you see movement or the glint of eyes, slow down and use caution.
Use your high beams when appropriate.
Whenever appropriate, use your high beams (brights) while driving between dusk and dawn. That extra fraction of a second of awareness can help you avoid a collision.
Expect a herd.
Deer usually travel in groups, so if you see a deer crossing the road, assume there are more following behind. Slow down and keep your eyes peeled when crossing through the area. The same goes for wild turkeys!
Follow the rules.
Hopefully, you’re already following these rules, but we all need a reminder every once in a while:
- Wear your seat belt. If you do hit a deer or other animal, you’re much more likely to walk away from the accident if you’re wearing a seatbelt.
- Maintain a safe speed. Speed limits are calculated to let you know the maximum speed at which you can safely navigate a given road. It’s especially important to follow the speed limit during times of increased animal activity, so you have enough time to see them and take evasive action.
- Pay attention to the road. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, the number of distracted driving cases in Georgia has risen by over 400 percent in the last ten years. Avoid becoming a statistic by driving safely. Texting, eating, looking at your kids in the back seat, fiddling with the radio, and even having a hands-free phone conversation at all can distract you at the moment when you need your full concentration
Give them some warning.
If you do encounter deer while driving, try to scare them away from the road. Flash your lights, honk your horn, and slow down. Deer have much more sensitive eyes than humans, so when they see your headlights coming, they are temporarily blinded and may freeze in place. Making noise and flashing your lights can knock them out of it and allow them time to get out of your way.
If a collision is inevitable, don’t slam on your brakes. Maintain your lane while breaking evenly and firmly. If you swerve to miss the deer, you’re likely to cause more damage to your car (and potential injury to yourself and others) by crashing into other drivers or a tree. At the moment of impact, take your foot off the brake. The nose of your car will lift slightly, which may help you avoid the deer coming through the windshield.
Drive safe, and if you do end up needing any car repairs, be sure to visit us at U Wrench It for affordable used auto parts in Atlanta!