Street Safe Teens: The Dangers of Deer

We've all seen them on the sides of the roads, maybe you've even had to slam on your brakes to avoid hitting them. Deer are a big problem this time of year.

Gene Heffey lives in Charlottesville, but he drives to Richmond for work. He said deer are a regular part of his evening commute.

"Maybe five, ten a night and it's gonna get worse," he said.

There may be a reason why. AAA says deer are more aggressive now any other time of the year because we're in the middle of their mating season.

Sheila Jones is the owner of Green Light Driving School in Albemarle County. She teaches hundreds of young drivers every year but says deer are hard to anticipate.

"I would say that the deer hit us," she said. "He jumped over a guardrail. We were going down 29 and the deer literally jumped over the guardrail and into our car."

Jones said teens sometimes forget about that danger.

"Sometimes kids have driven off 29 and they think the hard part of their drive is over so they let their guard down, but you know what, you're going down those country roads and that's when you absolutely cannot let your guard down,"she said."

That's something Heffey will never forget. He said he's hit two deer since he got his license. Now he says he's trying to learn from his experiences.

"It happened so fast, that you don't have time to think, they just hit," he said.

AAA says in most cases it's better to just hit than to swerve. The organization also recommends that drivers do not rely on devices to protect against deer. It says there is no conclusive evidence hood-mounted deer whistles and other similar devices work.

Deer mating season runs from October through December.
A recent study from State Farm Insurance says Virginia ranks tenth in states where drivers are most likely to hit a deer.

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