The Scary Reason New Englanders Drivers Should Never Let Their Guard Down
While I can appreciate a really good adrenaline rush first thing in the morning, especially on a Friday leading into a weekend, this wasn't exactly the way I wanted it to kick in.
Every single morning, I hit the road between 4-4:15a to sashay into the station to kick off the workday. I always hit a stretch of Route 1 (right near Billy Vachon St) that's wooded on both sides a bit where there are times I see deer here and there. I noticed them a lot more in the winter than I do now, but every now and then you can still come across them trotting across the street going about their merry way.
Here's the thing -- since I'd seem them so frequently in the winter, my spidey-senses were always tingling when I'd approach that area because I'd anticipate them either being on the side of the road ready to cross or already in the middle of the road waiting for the rest of their herd.
Since I see them so infrequently now, the spidey-senses don't tingle as much as take a pretty dormant nap. It's like reverse hibernation, where instead of taking the winter off, they take the spring and summer off.
Anyway, I digress. Thankfully this morning, I wasn't whipping around turns like I admit sometimes I can do. Because as I was cruising passed that area, something in my peripherals caught my attention -- and as I turned my head, I noticed a deer full out sprinting toward the street. And by the street, I mean he was headed right for the front of my truck.
Honestly, it was a lot like that scene in Home Alone where Kevin McAllister almost gets run over by the Wet Bandits.
I don't know if it was because I have a newer truck that's just over a year old, which means my tires aren't that bald yet and my brakes are still in decent shape, but thankfully for whatever reason, I was able to come to a full stop with the deer about the same distance as Kevin is from that big ole blue van. Any less friction from my brakes or any more balding on my tires, and I'd still be hosing my grill off.
Maine Deer Strikes
According to MaineDOT, between 2011 and 2015, Cumberland County led the way with deer strikes in the entire state of Maine with 2,634. Penobscot County wasn't that far off, registering a total of 2,527. York County is the next closest with about 900 fewer deer strikes in that 4-year stretch than Cumberland County.
While MDOT says November is the peak season for deer strikes due to breeding season, a strike can happen at any time of year, generally from dusk til dawn, when they're most difficult to see in the roadway (of course.)
Unavoidable Deer Strikes
In the event you find yourself in a situation where a collision with a deer is unavoidable, MDOT recommends you apply the brakes and then let up just as the collision is about to occur. If you're unable to avoid a collision, the best area to aim for if possible is the tail. Also, duck down just before impact to minimize possible injuries.
But above all else, keep your guard up when you're around areas where you've seen deer before, no matter the time of year. Because, like the show X-Files tended to remind us -- they're always out there (granted, they were talking about aliens, but you get the gist.)