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Safty Pro

The Hunt or the Hunted?

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09/01/2009 - Tis the season for deer and other wildlife to be "running for their lives" as we approach the "holiday spirit." Every year, we have numerous deer hits, or, deer attacks, while they frolic (or race) through the pavement zone at all hours of the day and night.

When driving hundreds of thousands of miles to and fro – make intelligent choices on selecting driving routes. Route yourself on main roads rather than back or country roads during dawn and dusk to minimize your "strike" potential. A main road rather than a shortcut may take a few minutes longer, but it won't take as long as it would if you hit one of these creatures, which can seriously injure you or damage your vehicle, not to mention the affect on the creature's lifespan. And, if you live on a secondary road, stay alert!

Rescue squad personnel respond every year to needless and preventable vehicle fatalities resulting from drivers striking wildlife that attempt to cross the road. You know – why did the chicken cross the road? It didn't – you hit it. When an antelope gets that "stare in the headlights" look, it is not moving simply because you think it sees you coming.

Slow down where you see or expect to see wildlife; if you see ONE then always assume there are at least two – because the deer and the antelope rarely play alone. And turkeys travel in…well…whatever they travel in – usually not alone.

People often make jokes about someone being "attacked" in a vehicle as these somewhat intelligent creatures run out of the tree-line directly in front or into the side of the vehicle. And, it may sound funny. You know, the deer that comes out from hiding and runs full speed directly into the passenger door. But that usually is a result of a 'near penetration,' a strike that does vehicle damage but the driver (oftentimes not the critter) walks (or drives) away from it. We forget that these collisions have caused driver and/or passenger death from the animal coming through the windshield or side window, as if it were trying to hitch a ride. Such strikes are dangerous!

Also, the animal does not always get killed, but may be seriously injured. If such a strike occurs, call the local authorities so the animal can humanely be cared for. And don't leave an injured or dead animal in the middle of the road for another driver to hit or swerve, causing yet another potential fatality!

Make good decisions on driving, especially during heightened activity of "the hunt or the hunted," so we all get home safely – you and Bambi. Get your holiday meals through the more traditional means – hunt it or buy it. Don't rely on the vehicle express method.

Randy DeVaul is an internationally published writer and author with 30 years in safety and emergency response experience. He is the creator of "Safe At Home"(www.safeathomeonline.com), a column designed to 'protect you and yours in and from your home'.™ Comments always welcome at safetypro@roadrunner.com.

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