By Jonathan Wright
It’s no fun hitting a deer.
Aside from my aversion to hurting any of those graceful, captivating animals, I simply have an aversion to danger—and damage to my vehicle. These maladies have a decisive way of putting a damper on your day.
Two weeks ago on a late Friday afternoon I was driving west on U.S. 60 between Lewisburg and Alta. A driver was trailing closely behind me, which is nothing unusual since I usually don’t high-tail it on winding roads with sometimes-minimal sight distance around curves.
As I rounded one such curve, there it was—a mid-sized deer on the left side of the road that I had apparently surprised. In obvious panic, it bolted across the road just a few feet from me, and as soon as it did, my mind quickly calculated the logistics—and I knew I could not avoid a hit.
Since I was right in the curve, fortunately I had the presence of mind not to swerve too drastically for fear of finding myself in the path of any vehicle that might be approaching from up ahead around the curve.
Also, I was conscious of the driver behind me and knew I must not slam on my brakes or else risk a rear-end collision on top of everything else.
Almost perfunctorily, I hit the deer, watched it slide over to the side of the road, and then pulled over about a tenth of the mile ahead where I saw a pull-off area. It was all over in no time.
After pulling over, I got out and quickly surveyed the damage, relieved to discover that it was fairly minimal, affecting mostly just the headlight area on the driver’s side.
I was immediately impressed by how calm I remained both during and after the incident. No doubt the Lord had assigned an angel to help keep me both safe and unrattled, and for that I am immensely grateful.
Now I’m driving around with only one functioning headlight until the shop can repair the damage. That’s a relatively minor inconvenience compared to the woes of countless folks who suffer much more serious run-ins with deer.
With the prolific numbers of deer in our area and a minimal hunting season, such run-ins are uncomfortably common. In fact, a recent survey by State Farm Insurance Company claims that the likelihood of a driver hitting a deer within a one-year period in West Virginia is 1 in 41, the top odds among all the states. The good news, however, is that overall the probability numbers in most states, including West Virginia, are on the way down.
Either way, be careful when you’re out driving. Our woods are full of unsuspecting deer—and deer are notorious for not looking before crossing the road.