Don't veer for deer
By Jenn Watt
Nov. 15, 2016
Fire prevention advocates came up with a brilliant association when they coupled checking your smoke detector when Daylight Saving Time is observed twice a year. That easy connection likely triggers hundreds of thousands of people to do routine maintenance that can save lives.
So perhaps it would be useful to come up with another for November.
When you get your winter tires put on for the six months of snow ahead, it’s a reminder to transition to a slower, more cautious driving season.
This isn’t just for the ice, sleet, slush and snow that is about to descend upon us, but for the wildlife that is most active in November.
Just as the golden leaves change to brown and switch from a sight to behold to a chore to clean up, deer start to appear more frequently on our roads.
This is mating season for deer, which means bucks are of one mind and does are dashing all over the place. They’re certainly not thinking about the safety of our roads.
On top of that, highways provide easy travel corridors for animals, which attracts them all the more.
According to an article by Workplace Safety North, “More than 14,000 highway collisions in Ontario each year involve wildlife, with an estimated cost of more than $1 billion, as well as driver injuries and deaths, and the number is growing.”
In Haliburton County there have already been many deer-car collisions with several being reported by police at the end of last month and 10 between Nov. 7 and 14.
The OPP have issued a graphic that illustrates some of the tips in avoiding deer. Generally, as drivers we need to avoid hitting or veering when deer cross the road. Ideally, we’re able to slow down enough for them to get by or stop. In order for this to happen, driving more cautiously and scanning the shoulders for deer helps. Deer often travel in groups, so when you see one, you’re likely to soon see more. They are more active in the dawn and dusk hours. And pay attention to the deer crossing signs. They are there to indicate a high population of deer.
(It bears repeating: please do not feed deer near roadways. The practice is already discouraged by the MNRF and feeding deer increases their numbers in locations dangerous to the animals and people alike.)
As local residents know, Haliburton County is teeming with deer. They’re on our lawns and rushing through the bush. There’s nothing we can do about that. What we can do is control our driving behaviour to reduce collisions and minimize damage.