Biker Dad: Highway patrol warns of deer danger - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Biker Dad: Highway patrol warns of deer danger

Source: Facebook.com/TVBikerDad Source: Facebook.com/TVBikerDad
LAKELAND, TN (WMC) -

About this time last year, I was riding down Highway 70 between Bartlett and Lakeland when I saw a flash of brown out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head, realized that flash was a deer and it was running right to the very spot my motorcycle was barreling towards at 50 miles an hour. I hit the brakes, the tire squealed a bit, and the deer kept on running. It made my heart skip a beat, but I didn't really come all that close to the deer because I spotted it early on. The GoPro I often ride with was rolling from my helmet and caught the brief encounter on video which can watch in this story.

Turns out, that's not a very rare event. In fact, the Tennessee Highway Patrol said we are entering the worst time of the year for deer-related crashes. Although they are exceptionally dangerous for bikers, they can be deadly for folks in cars too. THP said that deer mating and hunting season makes October through December the most dangerous time for drivers.

“A crash with a deer can be a very serious and dangerous incident,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. “Deer pose a danger to motorists throughout the year, especially in the fall. Our stats show November is typically the worst month for deer-related crashes. It is important motorist exercise caution, slow down and remain alert in areas where deer are populated.”

There were 6,953 deer-related crashes in Tennessee last year. That's up 8.15 percent according to the state. Thankfully no one died, but 351 people were hurt. The year-to-year- jump isn't that high. But there is a dangerous trend. THP said that deer crashes are up more than 22 percent since 2011.

How do you avoid a crash? Here's what the the highway patrol recommends:

Remember that mating season puts deer on the move and deer tend to move at dawn and dusk.

Whenever you see deer cross the road, expect more to follow.  Many times, the second or third deer crossing becomes the one that motorists hit.

Be attentive; drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside, especially at daybreak and dusk.

Do not swerve to avoid contact with deer. This could cause the vehicle to flip or veer into oncoming traffic, causing a more serious crash. Swerving also can confuse the deer as to where to run.

When you spot a deer, slow down immediately.  Proceed slowly until you pass that point.

If you do collide with a deer, never approach the injured animal.  They are powerful and can cause bodily harm to a human.  Report any deer collision, even if the damage is minor.

One other thing you may want to know, especially if you are a hunter. According to the THP press release "Tennessee law allows deer killed in a collision to be taken and used as food, as long as you contact the nearest TWRA regional office and report the accident within 48 hours. For TWRA regional offices, visit the TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org." So, there's one bright side, if you are into venison anyway. 

Statewide Deer Involved Traffic Crashes by Month, 2011 - 2015

Crash Month

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

5 Yr. Total

Average (Month)

January

428

460

431

495

498

2,312

462.4

February

346

310

335

421

273

1,685

337.0

March

286

229

331

364

339

1,549

309.8

April

305

272

368

313

355

1,613

322.6

May

369

330

368

353

507

1,927

385.4

June

376

428

485

397

514

2,200

440.0

July

273

313

285

298

370

1,539

307.8

August

278

261

293

279

303

1,414

282.8

September

288

296

318

275

343

1,520

304.0

October

598

792

677

709

771

3,547

709.4

November

1,337

1,496

1,417

1,659

1,693

7,602

1,520.4

December

813

770

880

866

987

4,316

863.2

Total

5,697

5,957

6,188

6,429

6,953

31,224

6,244.8

Statewide Deer Involved Traffic Crashes by Crash Type, 2011-2015

Crash Type

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Total

Fatal

2

3

2

1

0

8

Injury

285

311

282

306

351

1,535

PDO

5,410

5,643

5,904

6,122

6,602

29,681

Total

5,697

5,957

6,188

6,429

6,953

31,224

Source: Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security; TITAN 9/29/2016.

Please be careful out there and follow me on social media

www.Facebook.com/TVBikerDad

www.instagram.com/the_biker_dad

https://twitter.com/wmchrisbest

Chris Best is the Assistant News Director for WMC Action News 5. He's a husband and father of four, He's also a motorcycle enthusiast.

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