It’s that time of year again when deer and other large wildlife are in the rutting season and are more active. All motorists are affected by this annual event but those of us driving commercial loads are more at risk than the average traveler.
Deer are a consideration for drivers throughout the country and moose wander the roads of Maine and some western states. Elk are a big consideration, too, as truck-elk accidents don’t bode well for the elk or the truck.
There are some tips a good driver can employ that will help:
- Follow the speed limit. Speeding gives you less time to see an animal and to react.
- Be cautious at dawn, dusk and the first couple of hours after darkness, especially near the road.
- Two-lane roads bordered by woods or fields are where most animal-vehicle collisions occur. Slow down to 45 MPH when driving in an area like that.
- Roads that include a bridge for crossing a river or stream are also prime locations for wildlife.
- Use your high beam lights whenever possible.
- Lower your dashboard lights slightly. Doing this will make it easer to see headlights reflecting in the eyes of animals and give you time to brake.
- Equip your vehicle with Deer Whistles so the deer hears you and turns around before attempting to cross the road.
- If you see already struck deer on the shoulder of the road, that means you are likely in a crossing area so slow down even more and heighten your alertness.
The last good tip is if you encounter deer either in the road or near the road, start braking but not so hard as to cause your trailer to jackknife. Also get on your horn. Long blasts will cause them to move and hopefully they will move away from danger.
Be careful and be patient. The wildlife will start acting normal again soon.