Deer in the headlights

I’ve recently started a new phobia for myself… I’m deathly (no pun intended) afraid of hitting a deer on the highway. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing? Is there a name for it?

More importantly, is there a good way to prevent a deer-auto accident?

A deer? Never met a moose on the highway, have you? To avoid deer-auto collisions don’t drive. :slight_smile:

Sorry, now for a serious answer. I don’t see how you can avoid the risk of animal collision. All I can say is avoid panicking if it happens to you. You see a dear, slow down, don’t break, you might get rear-ended by another car, which could be worse. Your better off hitting a deer than plunging into a ditch, so don’t do extreme maneuvers either. Save yourself first, the car, second.

Deer aren’t that big. On the other hand, a moose will decapitate you if you hit it with a car…

Only humans commit inhuman acts.

There are inexpensive plastic whistle kits for keeping deer away from moving vehicles. You mount them on your car/truck/whatever, and the wind blowing through them creates a loud and annoying sound beyond human hearing range. This sound supposedly scares the deer off.

Do these things work? I have no idea. The theory is plausible enough. You’d be giving up an awful lot of free venison, though.

–Da Cap’n

The absolutely most important thing to remember in order to avoid hitting a deer:

If you brake in time to miss the first one, don’t start up until you’ve watched the rest of them cross the road.

Deer generally do not travel singly. I have seen one or two accidents where someone hit the lead deer. However, I know far more people who hit the gas when the “the” deer got across–and took out the second deer.


Tom is, as always, right on. But I think Momo gave the best advice for conducting your life at night while on the streets:

I did some research, and it seems that most experts have concluded that the whistles don’t work at all. Deer apparently have hearing ranges similar to those of humans, and what is supersonically inaudible to us (the ‘scientific principle’) is also inaudible to deer.

The advice on deer in packs is truly ‘straight dope.’ Every source I checked concurred.

I might also note that deer are most active (and thus more likely to be travelling across highways) at dusk and dawn, and especially during their mating season (Nov.-Jan.) and rutting season (spring).

I have this paranoia also.
Once I bought a set of those deer whistles. I didn’t read the package thoroughly until later. Apparently they worked by making the deer ‘curious’ about the sound they make, the deer then stand still trying to figure it out, and you can safely drive around them.
I think I threw them away.

I, too, have seldedr’s phobia of hitting a deer with my car. I’m VERY nervous driving on 2-lane roads at night. AFAIAK, there’s really nothing practical that can be done about it. Just be cautious, and take extra care during the fall and winter, especially on 2-lane roads.

As for the name of this phobia, I suggest “showmephobia,” Missouri being the “Show-me” state and having plenty of deer to run over. And there was an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch a while back about Conservation Dept. officials re-introducing ELK(!) to Missouri. As if there aren’t enough critters to run over in these parts.

If you want a serious answer for the name of your phobia, I suggest consulting a Greek dictionary. Look up the word for “deer” + “collision” and add “-phobia” and you’ve got it.

If it’s any comfort, my brother has hit three deer (at three different times) with the same car. He never had any injuries, although his car barely ran after deer #3. Some person would always stop their car to carve up my brother’s “kill”. It’s a pity he never hit a buck, or he could have mounted the antlers on his front fender. I’ve nearly hit two deer, myself.

“Eppur, si muove!” - Galileo Galilei

If you have a fear of hitting a deer, you DON’T want to drive on Higgins Road between Arlington Heights Road and the I290 overpass! For those not from Chicago, that’s a main east-west road in the northwest suburbs. Due west of the aforementioned overpass is Woodfield Mall, second-largest shopping center in the US, IIRC.

Anyhoo, that stretch of Higgins runs through the middle of the Cook County Forest Preserves – lots of deer on both sides of the road, and the fact that the neighboring community is Elk Grove Village should tell you something. The posted speed limit is 50mph, which means of course that traffic is actually going about 60mph. Some drivers are in a big hurry because they’re late for work; the area around Woodfield is filled with office buildings. The trees and brush grow almost up to the roadway in some places, and the road makes a big curve so that you can’t always see that far ahead. That stretch of Higgins is Deer-kill Central!

Hey, I drive a Geo Metro, I’d be afraid to collide with a large dog!

Lumpy: count your blessings. You could drive a Geo Tracker (also sold under the name “golf cart”).

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island

Us Canadians have a lot of experience with wildlife on the road. Those whistles are useless. Two main points:
(1) Don’t drive so fast that you exceed the range of your headlights at night.
(2) If you see a critter slow right down. They don’t understand vehicles and are just as likely to run in front of your car as away. They will also “deak” - start running in one direction and do a 180 flip right back in front of you.
I had a deer run out of the ditch into the side of my car in broad daylight. One of my buddies ended up with a moose’s ass in his face.

We have a name:
seldedr’s phobia

The volume of deer/vehicle interaction in northern Minnesota spawned a variation on an old joke.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

A: Just to prove to the deer that it could be done.

Don’t you know that you are suppose to stop at the Deer Xing signs and wait for the little fellers to cross in an orderly fashion?

I hate to add to your phobia, but I don’t blame you- I smacked a deer in my Chevy Cavalier 2 door (it was a pretty big car)- it smashed in the whole front end, bent the door so I couldn’t get out and I ended up in the hospital (I hit it doing about 55 in the absolute pitch dark). Bad scene. Now no matter WHAT the speed limit is, I go way slower on two lane roads just in case.
I am paranoid about highways, too but I’ve never had one run out there in front of me.

My husband had one come out in front of his motorcycle once and had just barely enough time to stop.

So anyway, just drive careful and realize you can’t control everything, least of all these friggin’ deer. I don’t care who flames me, I pray for good hunting seasons every year so I don’t hit another one and get myself killed this time.

Just a little ray of sunshine for you :slight_smile:

Some mornings it just doesn’t seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps.

cervus is latin for deer. offensio is latin for hitting against. So might one make the conjecture that cervusoffensiophobia (or possibly offensiocervusphobia, I’m no latin grammar expert) would be the fear of hitting a deer?

The only thing a nonconformist hates more than a conformist is another nonconformist who does not conform to the prevailing standards of nonconformity.

Would cervovehiculocollidophobia work? Might also be a suitable entry in that thread on long words.

I’ve never hit a deer or had one hit me. Don’t recall any that came really close either, but I have, of course, had them cross , or start to cross, quickly in front of my car.

Don’t try it with a fast bicycle either. I recall reading of one, a couple decades ago, hitting a deer on Willow Road, Stanford, CA-US. Instant kill of the rider. Don’t recall how the deer made out.

I got called a mountain goat once when I gamboled across a road not too far in front of a car.

Ray (Deer me.)

I understand that if you have time (i.e. a deer in the road ahead of you) if you flash your lights it will run away. I believe this. I myself have never hit a deer but two almost hit me!! and I was traveling almost 70 miles an hour… the dear were sprinting across the interstate and came inches from hitting the side of my car… had I been going even a slight bit slower they would have hit ME!

“Boy, wouldja get a load of the cloaca on that one”? -Cecil Adams “october 8 1999”