Oh, deer! Drive safely during rut

Staff writer

One night last week, my husband, Kenny, and I were driving back to Marion on U.S. 77 when we got a scare.

We were close to the Antelope corner and a car was coming toward us. Suddenly, in the dark, we could see the oncoming car jerk, their headlights explode and extinquish, and debris flew onto the highway hitting our car.

I quickly hung on to our little dog, Henry, expecting the worst. Kenny said “I saw a shadow, I think a deer crossed the road. We better go back and check on the other car.”

We turned around and pulled up behind the damaged vehicle.

Two women were standing alongside the road. The driver of the vehicle, Ida Saadon, a Centre Junior High School paraprofessional, who was noticeably, and rightfully, upset and shaking. The other, a teacher at Centre, Ann Collett, was fairly composed and dialing 911.

Both Ida and Ann were coming from a meeting in Marion and were headed back to Centre.

Kenny checked the highway and the ditch and found the doe lying lifeless off the roadway in the bottom of the thick grassy ditch.

I repeatedly told Ida what a great job she did.

She didn’t swerve, she didn’t panic, she didn’t come into our lane or hit the shoulder and possibly chance rolling her vehicle into the deep ditch.

It’s that time of year folks. White-tail deer are in rut, mating season, starting mid-November. They are on the move and chances of deer — vehicle accidents increase significantly.

Most serious deer accidents occur because someone panics and they swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or a stationary object.

According to Sheriff Rob Craft, the best driving safety tips are: to be extra cautious during the early morning dawn and in the evening hours of dusk. Deer tend to be more active between 6 and 9 p.m. Deer rarely travel alone so watch for more than one deer. Watch for deer crossing and speed limit signs. Use caution where there are wooded areas or rivers and streams. Use bright lights and watch for reflective eyes of animals. Always wear your seatbelt. Do not swerve to avoid hitting a deer. Apply brakes firmly without skidding. Never rely on deer whistles. Caution is your best bet.

If you hit a deer, pull to the shoulder of the road, turn on your flashers and watch for other motorists who are traveling on the highway, use caution and remove the deer from the highway if safely possible, dial 911.

Ida did a terrific job when it came to handling her deer incounter. She did everything right. I give her an A+.

 

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