Many of my friends have hit deer in this state. Up until two weeks ago I had not. But now I had … or rather have. Hit a deer that is.
I always thought if you were alert you could see them coming, etc., etc. Well at 50 mph on a straight road in a lightly populated area I found it not to be the case. POW … with no warning the right headlight on my '04 Corvette was gone. Just disappeared. Never saw it coming, never saw it going. The only reason I knew it was a deer was that I saw more crossing in my rear view mirror and yes, of course, deer hair in the cracked front fender (fiber glass you know).
I had no idea how bad the damage was except the passenger side mirror was intact, the car didn't pull, the tire didn't seem to be rubbing, and the air bags didn't deploy. I got to school without stopping and surveyed the damage. Eeegads, the headlight assembly was gone or crushed, the fender and fender liner cracked, bumper mangled and hood buckled. The kids looked things over and shook their collective heads. Several said that deer were out in many areas that morning because of storms the previous night.
As the school day progressed, I must have told the story 4 or 5 times and listened to countless accounts of similar incidents the students had experienced or witnessed. One 17 year old driver remembered how is dad had instructed him to brake for large animals the best he could but not to swerve off the road and risk severe damage. Sounded like good advice.
I was careful to be thankful that the deer had not made it a foot further into my path. If he or she had, the entire front end of the Vette would be gone, air bags deployed, and chances of my injury would be high.
That afternoon I took the Vette to the recommended shop. They in turn referred me to a Chevy dealer for repairs. While I was there another couple brought in their vehicle with damage caused by hitting a pole after swerving to miss an animal. The difference in our two repairs: Theirs was classified collision & mine comprehensive.
Thinking back, I have seen about five dead deer this year along the two mile stretch of US 82 I travel to get to school. Maybe it's time to consider an alternate route.
If a large animal gets in your path remember: Keep your nerve & don't swerve.
Gene Canavan is retired and lives in Prattville, Alabama, USA