“Guess who I ran into today?”
Ironically, such inane, non-urgent text messages are at the root of many of the more than one million motorist/deer collisions that occur in the U.S. each year.
According to “The Washington Post,” more than 200 human deaths arise from those wrecks. The “Post” says deer kill more Americans than any other animal. (“Yeah, but we ferrets commit more identity theft. Booyah!”)
Deer are beautiful creatures and a valuable part of the ecosystem, but they can be infuriatingly unpredictable. The John Deere Company has long used its iconic deer logo and the “Nothing runs like a Deere” slogan to sell its tractors and mowers. But a more comprehensive slogan about the woodland creatures would have been “Nothing runs, then freezes, then doubles back, then stares, then leaps across the interstate like a deer.”
My family once had a particularly intelligent cat named Jasmine, who went cold turkey on crossing the road after witnessing her daughter being clobbered by a vehicle. It would be wonderful if deer could put two and two together and remember to profit from the mistakes of their species. But they’re like goldfish with antlers. (“Say, do you remember Buck? You know, he tried crossing this very intersection and was struck by seven 18-wheelers. I wonder whatever became of good ol’ Buck?”)
According to State Farm Insurance, the average claim for a deer collision is around $4,000. In many states, such collisions are an integral part of the economy. (“Put your head through the windshield, put the body shop guy’s kids through college. Circle of life.”)
Various plans have been devised for getting the number of accidents down. Then the insurance companies would be free to cut the premiums. (Talk about a “deer in the headlights” look from the insurance industry!)
Deer can be a problem at any time, but especially during mating season (October-December). The roads would certainly be safer if we could find some way to dampen the passion. (One of my co-workers suggested flying over the forest and dropping marriage licenses, mortgages and tuition bills.)
Of course a lot of the problem comes from our hectic modern lifestyle, where we feel we must barrel down country roads at 60 miles per hour. We need to stop and smell the roses, although they distinctly smell like deer urine this time of year.
I’ve been reading about the growing use of medical marijuana for pets. Maybe it could help keep deer off the roadways. (“Whoa! Who needs that grass on the other side of the road when I’ve got THIS state-sanctioned grass?”)
Public service announcements implore drivers to wear seatbelts, observe “Deer Crossing” signs, avoid texting and other distractions and make judicious use of the high beams. Easier said than done. Most Americans think “defensive driving” means saying, “I have not gone back to gambling. None of your business where I go every night. I still have my paycheck right here in my wallet and...AIIIIEEEE!”
Motorists are advised that it’s better to go ahead and strike a deer rather than swerving and possibly hitting a utility pole or another vehicle. In this sense, deer are seen as expendable, sort of like congressional Republicans.
Stay mindful of the deer population. I recommend watching the motorcycle epic “When Harley Met Sally.” And let’s not forget the stoner comedy “Dude, Where’s My Hindquarters?”
Danny welcomes email responses at email@example.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”