Subrogating the Deer in the Headlights

By Gary Wickert | October 4, 2018

  • October 4, 2018 at 10:37 am
    Doe-a-deer says:
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    I remember in driver’s-ed class (mid 90s) they taught us to hit the animal, don’t swerve unless it’s safe for all the reasons described in this article. Even in my motorcycle safety course, they talked about honking your horn if you’re in the middle of nowhere with no one around to scare off any dear and to of course be aware, watch speed, etc. Growing up in deep South Texas there were certainly a lot of deer around so it was always on our minds.

  • October 8, 2018 at 5:27 pm
    Dear me!! says:
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    I must respectfully disagree here. To my mind a deer leaping out into traffic is a textbook definition of a sudden emergency. A sign warning of deer crossing is a caution for heightened awareness, not to reduce speed. If a reduced speed was warranted along this stretch of road then there should be a reduction in the posted speed limit. Reducing one’s speed to the 30 MPH or so that it would take to be able to brake for a deer while traveling in a 65 MPH or 75 MPH zone at dawn or dusk makes that vehicle a distinct hazard to those approaching from behind. To my mind this would not be the action of a reasonable person.

    As far as just braking and hitting the deer I also was taught it is better to hit the deer, know it is better to hit the deer, and given the time to make a logical decision would always make that choice. All that said, having had several deer jump in front of me in my days in the mid-west I will say that each time I reflexively steered away from what I saw bounding into my lane. I did not have the time to draw upon what I had learned. It was an instinctual reaction.

    For these reasons I think it is the rare case where pursuit of the driver is justified. Just my opinion of course, but that is what makes for horse races and trials.

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