Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Deer in Headlights

This weekend I spent a good amount of time driving, which, you'll recall, is relatively new to me. I have, after three years of sporadic experiences behind the wheel, gotten very good at the basics, so now I'm adding little pieces of flair to my vehicular resume. For example, driving one-handed while drinking coffee and/or changing the radio station and/or rolling up a manual window (freakishly, our rental car had no automatic locks or windows. It is sad that I barely know how to operate anything without a button).

Surprisingly, even to me, I am a pretty laid-back driver. I don't scare easy and I'm not anxious behind the wheel. Well, until last night.

I was driving on the Merritt around 9 pm, doing 65 in the right lane, when I saw the following sign:

I have seen these signs before, but never while in the driver's seat and never at night. The meaning of the sign is relatively self-explanatory—Watch Out Because Deer Might Jump Into the Path of Your Moving Car—but I kind of wonder what I'm supposed to do with that information.

I mean, the speed limit on the Merritt is 55, so lets assume you are going at least that fast (or, if you're like me, faster, since I believe that the secret math of speed limits allows you to go ten miles over without penalty). If a deer were to leap out of the woods and in front of your car, what are your options, exactly? The sign might as well look like this:

Seriously, is there any non-gory outcome that could result from hitting a deer at 55 mph? Why even put up these signs? Needless to say, I drove the entire length of the Merritt white-knuckled, my eyes darting back and forth from the dark road to the edge of the woods, preparing myself for impact.


  1. Since I grew up in the sticks, almost everyone I know has hit a deer at one point or another. No one died. Well, the deer died - no people died.

    Likely you would just damage your car, but you would be absolutely fine! I promise!

  2. The idea is to pay attention to movement at the roadside, and not blindly follow the lines. You should then be able to slow down if a deer appears to be near the road.

    Also, it's camels (or dromedaries) you must worry about.


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