Deer Dangers

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

November 4, 2005

With the winter months on the way, drivers are likely to spot more deer when driving about, and many of them are smashing into them. Officials in our area say the number of those types of crashes are up from this time last year.

In recent weeks, the entire Charlottesville area has seen a spike in car crashes involving deer. With several deer carcasses lying on roads, police want to send a message to drivers on safety.

No matter where you drive, you're bound to see it.

"It's sad, and it's disgusting," said Katie Willis, a driver along Route 29.

Disgusting road kill in just about every lane of traffic from deer and other animals being forced out of their habitat.

"Nobody wants to see Bambi on the side of the road," saidd Willis.

"I guess a lot of subdivisions, and a lot of things like that are moving in. They have less farm land to move in on, and this time of year they cross the road quite a bit," said Jeff Garr, with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Throughout Central Virginia, the number of deer carcasses are up from this time last year, in Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, and Madison counties. While causing a headache for drivers on Virginia's roadway now, it's not expected to go away any time soon.

"Here in the last month, we've picked up about 128. It will increase now as times goes on until January," added Garr.

With the cold weather and mating season guaranteeing a huge number of deer dashing across the road, the number of car crashes involving deer is expected to go up as well.

"It's just an incident waiting to happen. With a little due care, and maybe driving at a safer, slower speed, especially at nighttime and early morning when you see most of the deer movement, you can maybe prevent that from happening to yourself," said Captain Randall Snead, of the Greene County Sheriff's Department.

Tips for drivers to move safely on the roads:

- Wear your seat belt to reduce injury if you're in an accident.

- Be alert, and drive with caution, so you can spot the deer.

- Slow down, so you can be ready when the deer darts out into the road.

- Flash your headlights from bright to dim to make the deer move.

-Don't swerve if you do encounter a deer, because that could make matters worse.

Police emphasize remembering those tips to allow more reaction time, because it's possible for most accidents to be avoided.

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