Much is made these days of the distractions of modern driving. Smartphones in particular come in for a lot of criticism although to be fair it of course the users who commit the crime. Our modern cars are full of such attention-takers. Touchscreens, over-talkative passengers, infotainment centres all distract drivers from keeping their eyes on the road, often with unwanted, inevitable and sometimes tragic consequences.
The thing is, driver distraction is nothing new. It has always been an issue and we forget this at our peril, literally. For example, at this time in October the rutting season is underway and I don’t just mean in the High Street on a Friday night.
Deer are easily spooked at the best of times but if they’re feeling a bit frisky too then drivers need to beware as there is significant rise in the risk of collisions with deer crossing the road at this time of year. There’s no highway code for animals as we know by the carnage caused by cars in the countryside. The beasts of the field don’t know to be traffic vigilant but we do.
Inattention Could Cost You Deer
One of the funniest sights in the world is of a moose, a remarkable, huge and blissfully stupid creature, running at full pelt, legs flailing. The problem is, obviously, they are not aware. Thus, wildlife vehicle collisions are a major concern in Canada and many moose are killed or maimed as are some humans. Moose write off cars with frequency.
You are unlikely to see a moose in the UK, except on the High Street on a Friday night, but a deer is still a big creature and can put a serious dent in your car and your insurance premiums. It happens more often than you might think. There’s not a lot to stop them coming through the windscreen either and this is why motorists need to be on their guard for distractions outside the car. Take your eyes off the road and you personally might be responsible for killing Bambi.
And That’s Not All…
Exterior distractions don’t end there. Just because there are no deer around doesn’t mean you are in the clear and it is okay to daydream or search for a pencil when you get an idea for a poem.
Drivers who allow themselves the luxury of admiring scenic surroundings, even for a brief moment, will subsequently be surprised how quickly the worst can happen. It only takes an inadequate driver just up the road to make an inappropriate manoeuvre or to make a serious misjudgement when it comes to speed or cornering to bring everyone to grief.
It only takes an instant for another driver sitting at a junction to make a false assumption about your speed or intention and thus cause an accident. It all happens so suddenly, that’s the thing. It only takes an over-compensation or poor evasive manoeuvre for you to mount the pavement and mow someone down.
An open car window in Summer and instantly there’s a wasp in the motor which will almost always induce much lively and terrified arm flapping and general pandemonium. You, the driver, are the one needed to stay cool. Easier said than done. If a wasp can cause distractions, imagine what a deer can do. Geoff Maxted
(Thanks to GEM Motoring Assist for the idea)