Beware Of Deer

Wednesday, November 8th 2006, 10:38 am
By: News On 6

It's a wild time on Oklahoma's roadways this time of year. November typically has the highest number of car-deer collisions. And this year is no exception.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg says November includes both mating season and hunting season. And so deer are on the run. And if you're not careful, you could pay.

Michael Carman was headed to work in Okmulgee before dawn when he saw the proverbial deer in headlights. "I swerved over to miss them, and a buck was chasing the two doe, run right into me, y'know, instantly."

And it doesn't just happen out in the country. A car swerved to avoid a deer Tuesday morning in far east Tulsa hit a tree and caught fire. Luckily, the two women inside got out okay.

Michael Carman: "Yeah, they're real thick. There are lots of deer out. And it was right before deer season, a day before deer season opened." It's frustrating, but it could be worse. “You hear all the stories about people getting killed, and I felt pretty lucky just to have a banged up car."

Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Larry Chambliss says if an animal appears in front of your car, hit the brakes, but don't try to swerve. "Start doing all these evasive maneuvers to avoid the deer, next thing you know you've spun out, run off the road, flipped your car, worst-case scenario."

And he says deer usually travel in groups, so if you see one like Carman, expect another. "I thought well good, I missed them, and then that other one came running right up there."

Four times more car-animal crashes happen in darkness and low light and like with any crash, speed complicates things. Michael Carman: "I've been leaving the house early so I can drive slower, give myself more response time, so I don't hit them any more."

There were more than 500 car-deer crashes in Oklahoma last year. Three of those were fatal. So far in 2006, Oklahoma has already experienced almost 400 car-deer crashes.