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  #1  
Old 27 December 2006, 07:32 AM
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Fright How to hit a deer

Comment: I recently came across your site and
did not find any information about a common peice of "advice" often given
out by law enforcement in the Midwest.

The advice is that if you know you are about to hit a deer, you should hit
the accelerator so that the front end of your car is pointed up. The
rationale is that if your front end is pointed up, you are more likely to
prevent the deer from going through your windshield.

To me, the "logic" of this advice must give way to physics. In my
opinion, it seems obvious to me that the better option is to slam on the
brakes. Your front end may be pointed down, but it seems better to reduce
the overall momentum of your car so that you increase the impulse of the
collision and less force is transferred to your car. In short, less speed
results (not directly) in less damage.

Could you investigate this? I have been unable to reach a decision
amongst colleagues.
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  #2  
Old 28 December 2006, 09:12 PM
emperor_genghis_khan
 
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I had a bad accident where the car is was in hit a bull. The best thing is just not to hit it, Trust Me. But if you really have the idea I would think is hitting it with the corner of the car while aiming away from it to make sure it doesn't land on ur car.
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  #3  
Old 30 December 2006, 02:52 AM
Jayhawkk
 
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You always want to hit an object at the slowest speed possible. In order to actually have you front end pointed up would rely on how much torque and horsepower your vehicle had to actually push the front end up. You also have to factor in whether it's front wheel/real wheel or all wheel drive. In all cases you're going to risk more damage by increasing speed by taking any possible mathmatical chance of going 'over' the deer.

This is the same type of bad advice of those who tell people on motorcycles to hit deer and the like as fast as possible so you have more of a chance to "cut" through instead of just hit and stop.
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  #4  
Old 01 January 2007, 03:45 PM
Delta-V
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayhawkk View Post
You always want to hit an object at the slowest speed possible. In order to actually have you front end pointed up would rely on how much torque and horsepower your vehicle had to actually push the front end up. You also have to factor in whether it's front wheel/real wheel or all wheel drive.
FWD, RWD, and AWD cars will all raise the front end under acceleration. It's a function of both the weight transfer and the torque reaction through the suspension causing lift (for FWD) or squat (for RWD) or both (AWD).

Most cars don't have a surplus of torque available at highway speeds in top gear. Even a Corvette in sixth gear can't lift the nose up much. You might get it an inch above level. BUT - braking can drop the nose 4 or 5 inches. That might be significant.

My first thought was it's a silly idea, but it might have some merit. The concern here is not the momentum of the impact, which the front end of the car should be able to handle easily (given that deer don't weight all that much), but preventing the deer from hitting the windshield, which can't handle the impact. With a typical deer being 3-5ft tall, that extra 5 inches might make a difference.

More importantly is not to lose control of the car in the process.
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  #5  
Old 01 January 2007, 04:01 PM
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Where I come from it's best not to hit the deer!

Hubby's opinion is that it's better to just hit the deer without trying to stop. There's a better chance of running over the deer than have it come up onto the hood...either way your car will be NFBSKed!

Either way...I still say YUMMY! Although I still can't convince hubby it's beef

ETA: Would it make a difference if it was a Buck or a Doe? A fawn would be potentially less of a threat while I would think a Buck being heavier & depending what season(?) having antlers would be the most danger...

Last edited by Squishy0405; 01 January 2007 at 04:05 PM. Reason: to add another thought
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  #6  
Old 01 January 2007, 09:04 PM
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Most of the time there is no time to think about what you should or shouldn't do, if you're about to hit a deer. Heck, if I had that much time to consider it, I'd just steer away from the darn thing.
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  #7  
Old 01 January 2007, 09:05 PM
followsthewolf
 
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The initial impact of the deer coming through the windshield doesn't always present the most serious danger.

Frequently, the deer will survive if it hits only glass. Unfortunately, if the deer survives, it will flail its very sharp little hooves, which can do great physical harm to the occupants. Being a buck (antlers) only adds to the problem.

Where I live, deer are a major concern from November through the end of deer season (rutting and hunters driving them).
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  #8  
Old 01 January 2007, 09:12 PM
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The general advice given here, where there are plenty of deer, are to slow down, but not to steer away from the deer. The reasoning is that by steering away from the deer, the driver risks hitting thinks like trees, culverts, bridge abutments -- all of which are more dangerous to hit than a deer. But as tagurit said, I don't think most people have much time to think about it.

A deer tried to jump over the car of a family friend. She (the doe) didn't make it, landed on the windshield, and crashed through. She started flailing with her hooves and broke the driver's arm.

DD and I witnessed a deer-car collision earlier this year. It happened in the southbound lane of a two-lane state highway; we were in the northbound lane. The collision sent the deer flying upward; DD and I never even saw it until it was on its way back down. It's a very strange thing to see a deer falling from the sky.
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  #9  
Old 02 January 2007, 09:12 AM
mick66 mick66 is offline
 
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Crash (Warning...a little deer blood...)

I did it right !!!!!






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  #10  
Old 02 January 2007, 03:38 PM
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Crash

The Minnesota Dept of Transportation says:

Quote:
"It's safer to hit a deer than to risk hitting another vehicle or a fixed object such as a tree. Apply your brakes firmly, hold onto the steering wheel and bring your vehicle to a controlled stop."
Damage to the car is inevitable. Cars are much easier to fix than people, or so the theory goes.
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  #11  
Old 03 January 2007, 07:54 PM
iskinner
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrRocket View Post
The Minnesota Dept of Transportation says:

Damage to the car is inevitable. Cars are much easier to fix than people, or so the theory goes.
Just hope that the idiot who is tail gating you is insured. That's my story. Deer runs across road. I break from 55 to about 25 and avoid it, but the kid in pickup behind me can't match the declaration and plows into us. Hard enough for me to completely destroy the driver's bucket seat.

Would not have been such a hassle except, of course, he was uninsured.
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  #12  
Old 04 January 2007, 02:43 PM
Meka Meka is offline
 
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I certainly wouldn't advocate accelerating into the deer. Adding even more KE to the impact is just asking for trouble, and you haven't dramatically reduced the chances of the deer going up onto the hood and through the windshield. As far as braking, it sounds like a tradeoff - lower point of impact versus less kinetic energy imparted to the deer.

I doubt there's one set rule, it probably depends on available braking distance. For example, if I can slow from 65 to 40, I'd probably take my chances being nose-low. But if I can only scrub off a few mph by braking, then perhaps it's better to maintain speed.
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  #13  
Old 04 January 2007, 03:42 PM
Monza305
 
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I have heard a couple of times that when you see the eye shine of a deer on the side of the road you should flash your lights on & off a couple of times. The reason given is that the deer is blinded by your headlights and can only see its shadow behind it, so it runs away from its shadow and into your car. Flashing your lights will help it get its bearings straight.

Any one else heard this one? I haven't had the chance to try it, because flashing my lights is the last thing I'm thinking of when I see a freakin' deer getting ready to run out in front of me. Plus, I know not all car-deer accidents happen at night.
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  #14  
Old 04 January 2007, 04:26 PM
iskinner
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monza305 View Post
I have heard a couple of times that when you see the eye shine of a deer on the side of the road you should flash your lights on & off a couple of times. The reason given is that the deer is blinded by your headlights and can only see its shadow behind it, so it runs away from its shadow and into your car. Flashing your lights will help it get its bearings straight.
I've heard the suggestion to flash one's lights, but with a different explanation. The way I heard it was that dear are geared to freeze, stand still, if they detect movement that is potentially a predator. Flashing one's lights supposedly could/would trigger this supposed response.
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  #15  
Old 04 January 2007, 04:27 PM
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When I took my safe driving course, the retired trooper who taught it said we should hit the brakes, turn off the headlights and hit the horn. Since I wanted the discount on my insurance, I didn't raise my hand and ask how the hell I'm supposed to do all that in a split second.
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  #16  
Old 04 January 2007, 04:35 PM
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I'm pretty well conditioned to tap the horn when I see deer. It's important to tap in short bursts, not one long blast.

This is what I taught my kids:

Slow down as much as you reasonably can, don't swerve and don't slam on the brakes.
Tap the horn a few times.
If you think of it, flash the lights.
Watch for more deer. Where there is one, there are usually more.
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  #17  
Old 13 January 2007, 12:21 PM
Jayhawkk
 
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We are all conditioned through repitition so there becomes a bigger issue if you try and train yourself to speed up when about to hit a deer. Speeding up when about to hit another object; like hitting a little kid instead.

I just can't imagine having enough time to see a deer and recognize it as such and then being able to speed up with enough time to actually change the angle of the vehicle with any distinct degree.
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  #18  
Old 13 January 2007, 12:56 PM
Gutter Monkey
 
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Whalephant

This site has an article from 2005 which says the animal-vehicle collisions cause an average of 200 deaths per year in the US. (They list their sources at the end of the article.) This site has a year-by-year beak down of human deaths caused by collisions with wildlife and they also gives stats for some individual states. (Texas is usually the worst state.) They've also published the findings of a study on how vehicle speed affects the number of animals hit by cars (ooh, posting a lower speed limit drops the number of collisions, who would have guessed) but doesn't appear to say anything about how this affects the chances of the animals going through your windscreen.

Now for some more photos!

Here is what happens when you hit a moose. This isn't a good result either. And I don't know how anyone could go through this without death or serious injury. Edit: apparently the driver was trapped under the moose but the worst injury she suffered was a broken wrist. Story & more photos.

And we've got the same problem with kangaroos over here.

Here's a horse, and another.

I guess horses & moose are more dangerous than deer because they're taller. Kangaroos are smaller but they can jump up over the bonnet.

(In case you were wondering whether I collect articles & photos of roadkill, we just had a big discussion about this over on another site. )

Whoa, another edit. Apparently in Sweden the SAAB company do "moose tests" to check how much damage will be done to their vehicles when they hit a moose. This site has a photo of a "moose test" in mid collision.

Last edited by Gutter Monkey; 13 January 2007 at 01:15 PM.
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  #19  
Old 13 January 2007, 01:42 PM
Gutter Monkey
 
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Frying Pan

Ha ha ha, look at what this wikihow article says:

Quote:
Try to skim rather than fully impact the animal. Brake firmly, angle the car/truck and take your foot off the brake as you impact. The release of the brake will cause slight lift of the vehicle and this may be enough to stop the animal from rising into your windshield if your vehicle is tall enough.
So now braking reduces the chances of the deer going through your windscreen!
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  #20  
Old 13 January 2007, 07:19 PM
Jayhawkk
 
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Basically it's saying that since when braking the nose of the vehicle goes into a downward dive that releasing the brake just before impact will allow the vehicle to level off. The front end levelling off, to me is better in theory than trying to raise the front end by speeding up before impact.
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