Why Do Deers Run In Front Of Cars Or Other Moving Vehicles?


We all cross paths with the odd suicidal deer at some point in our lives… you know the ones.

Why Do Deers Run In Front Of Cars Or Other Moving Vehicles?

You’ll be driving along belting out “Dancing in the Dark” along with The Boss on the radio, then BOOM!

Out of nowhere, a deer bounds out into the road and beckons you into a dance with death!

If you’re lucky, you slam on or swerve out of the way in the nick of time and the deer with a death wish scarpers for the nearest cover.

But if you’re not so lucky, any number of terrible things can happen.

Whether you hit an obstacle whilst trying to avoid the deer or hit the poor creature itself, your vehicle’s almost certainly a write-off, and the deer, well… let’s just hope there’s a deer heaven, ay?

Deer-vehicle Collisions Can be Fatal

In some scenarios, these encounters can even wind up fatal for humans, so really, no one comes out on top, which begs the question of why deer do this in the first place.

Well, the “caught like a deer in headlights” saying didn’t come from nowhere, so let’s put this bizarre behavior under the microscope and see if we can’t find ways to minimize associated dangers.

Reasons A Deer Might Run Into The Roadway?

Believe it or not, there are actually a number of reasons why a deer might run into the road.

1. New Roads

In order to enhance the infrastructure of the nation and enhance connectivity between disparate locations, a wealth of new roads are being laid year after year, the majority of which snake through relative wilderness, where most deer live.

To deer in these locations, roads may well be a completely foreign concept, meaning they have no inkling of the danger they pose, so there’s a good chance they’ll roam across them without a care in the world.

2. Fear

Deer are famously timid creatures that will scarper at the crack of a twig, so, needless to say, the sound of your Toyota Corolla tearing up the asphalt can send them into a state of blind fear.

Have you ever experienced a similar fright? Logical thinking goes out the window as your fight-or-flight response takes the wheel, so to speak.

See also  .257 Roberts for Elk Hunting? Best Ammo (Round, Load, Cartridge) for a Successful Elk Hunt Hunting Calibers 04 Apr, 2020 Posted By: Foundry Outdoors Is the .257 Roberts a viable caliber/load/round/cartridge for elk hunting? The accurate answer is “it depends”. However, the goal of this article is simply to address the question of whether the .257 Roberts is within the ideal range of suitable calibers to harvest elk. As with anything, the devil is in the details. To answer the question completely, we would need to evaluate the downrange distance to the elk, the bullet type, the grain weight of the bullet, the physical condition of the firearm, the size of the elk in question, the shot placement, the local wind conditions, the expected accuracy of the shooter, the ethics of the ideal maximum number of shots – the list goes on. [Click Here to Shop .257 Roberts Ammo]What we can do is provide a framework to understand what average conditions might look like, and whether those are reasonably viable for a shot from the average shooter to harvest a elk in the fewest number of shots possible, i.e., ethically. Let’s dive right in. In the question of “Is the .257 Roberts within the ideal range of suitable calibers for elk hunting?” our answer is: No, the .257 Roberts is UNDERKILL for elk hunting, under average conditions, from a mid-range distance, with a medium grain expanding bullet, and with correct shot placement.Let’s look at those assumptions a bit closer in the following table. Assumption Value Caliber .257 Roberts Animal Species Elk Muzzle Energy 2040 foot-pounds Animal Weight 720 lbs Shot Distance 200 yardsWhat is the average muzzle energy for a .257 Roberts? In this case, we have assumed the average muzzle energy for a .257 Roberts round is approximately 2040 foot-pounds. What is the average weight of an adult male elk? Here we have leaned conservative by taking the average weight of a male individual of the species, since females generally weigh less and require less stopping power. In this case, the average weight of an adult male elk is approximately 720 lbs. [Click Here to Shop .257 Roberts Ammo]What is the distance this species is typically hunted from? Distance, of course, plays an important role in the viability of a given caliber in elk hunting. The kinetic energy of the projectile drops dramatically the further downrange it travels primarily due to energy lost in the form of heat generated by friction against the air itself. This phenonemon is known as drag or air resistance. Thus, a caliber that is effective from 50 yards may not have enough stopping power from 200 yards. With that said, we have assumed the average hunting distance for elk to be approximately 200 yards. What about the other assumptions? We have three other primary assumptions being made here. First, the average bullet weight is encapsulated in the average muzzle energy for the .257 Roberts. The second important assumption is ‘slightly-suboptimal’ to ‘optimal’ shot placement. That is to say, we assume the elk being harvested is shot directly or nearly directly in the vitals (heart and/or lungs). The third assumption is that a projectile with appropriate terminal ballistics is being used, which for hunting usually means an expanding bullet.Various calibersA common thread you may encounter in online forums is anecdote after anecdote of large animals being brought down by small caliber bullets, or small animals surviving large caliber bullets. Of course those stories exist, and they are not disputed here. A 22LR cartridge can fell a bull elephant under the right conditions, and a newborn squirrel can survive a 50 BMG round under other specific conditions. Again, the goal of this article is simply to address the question of whether .257 Roberts is within the ideal range of suitable calibers to harvest elk - and to this question, the response again is no, the .257 Roberts is UNDERKILL for elk hunting. [Click Here to Shop .257 Roberts Ammo]This article does not serve as the final say, but simply as a starting point for beginner hunters, as well as a venue for further discussion. Please feel free to agree, disagree, and share stories from your own experience in the comments section below. Disclaimer: the information above is purely for illustrative purposes and should not be taken as permission to use a particular caliber, a statement of the legality or safety of using certain calibers, or legal advice in any way. You must read and understand your own local laws before hunting elk to know whether your caliber of choice is a legal option.Foundry Outdoors is your trusted home for buying archery, camping, fishing, hunting, shooting sports, and outdoor gear online.We offer cheap ammo and bulk ammo deals on the most popular ammo calibers. We have a variety of deals on Rifle Ammo, Handgun Ammo, Shotgun Ammo & Rimfire Ammo, as well as ammo for target practice, plinking, hunting, or shooting competitions. Our website lists special deals on 9mm Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 45-70 Ammo, 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, 300 Blackout Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 5.56 Ammo, Underwood Ammo, Buffalo Bore Ammo and more special deals on bulk ammo.We offer a 100% Authenticity Guarantee on all products sold on our website. Please email us if you have questions about any of our product listings. Leave a commentComments have to be approved before showing up Your Name * Your Email * Your Comment * Post Comment

In light of this, a deer will simply run, not paying much attention to direction, so it’s not uncommon for them to end up on the road, especially if it’s a new build and the animal doesn’t understand what all the ruckus is about.

3. Path Of The Road

Sometimes deer do know what direction to run, but due to the sinuous nature of the roads, end up caught in the headlights of our vehicles anyway.

When a vehicle is at one point in the road, the sound may travel in one direction over the landscape, encouraging deer to run in the opposite direction.

However, little does the deer know that the road is made up of a sequence of sprawling turns and deep U-shaped bends, so they may still end up further down the very same road, with the vehicle fast approaching.

4. Essential Crossing

Why did the deer cross the road?… It’s not a joke, but a genuine question to which there is a multitude of answers.

Sometimes, deer need to cross the road simply because there’s something on the other side they must reach.

If food in their current area is close to depletion, for instance, they’ll have to explore new spots, some of which may only be reached by crossing the road.

Another reason a deer might well hit the asphalt without looking both ways is if a doe is heading back to her fawns.

See, does spend the majority of their time away from their young to reduce the chances of predators finding their hiding spot, but she must return a couple of times every 24-hour cycle in order to feed them milk.

Should the route to her babies cross a road, poor timing and poor luck may well see her in the path of your vehicle, which is a pretty heartbreaking consideration.

Not only will such a collision end the deer’s life but her young as well — Ahhh, cruel fate!

5. Rutting Season

When rutting season comes around, bucks go a little wacky and strike out lone wolf deer style in search of a mate, which is why they’ll often be crossing a road alone.

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These poor horny creatures are only looking for a little bit of love and here we come along with our trucks and our motorcycles and our sport coupes and we annihilate them before they ever find it… tragic!

Why Do Deer Run Directly Towards Vehicles?

Hopefully, the next time you encounter a deer on the road, they have their wits about them and understand how to get away, but these peculiar animals are quite famous for staying perfectly still or actually running towards oncoming traffic.

It seems insane, but there’s a very good reason for both of these actions.

Deer technically aren’t nocturnal animals, but they do have spectacular vision.

In fact, their peepers are roughly five times more proficient than our own, a feat that gives them an edge in normal circumstances, but when they’re blasted by our headlights, it can be a real shock to their system.

In this state of blinding overwhelm, they won’t be able to see much of anything at all, and considering deer are typically long-sighted animals, the chance they’ll be able to figure out what’s happening is even slimmer.

Related: How Well Can Deer See In The Dark?

Can A Collision With A Deer Total Your Car?

Deer may be incredibly nimble and elegant, but that’s not to say they don’t carry some serious weight.

Why Do Deers Run In Front Of Cars Or Other Moving Vehicles?

A full grown buck will weigh anything between 120 and 200 lbs. To put that into perspective for you, that’s the equivalent of a large refrigerator!

How To Reduce The Chances Of A Deer Collision

Before we go our separate ways, let’s hammer out a comprehensive hazard avoidance plan when using rural roads.

Slow Down

The best general advice I can give you to reduce your chances of colliding with a deer is to slow your roll.

Rural roads are incredibly dangerous before we even bring wandering deer into the equation, so you should be playing it safe anyway, but if you’re driving through deer country, you need to be exceptionally careful.

Drop at least 10 miles below the speed limit and take any blind sections very slowly in order to give you, the deer, and your vehicle the best chance of survival.

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Consider The Hour

Deer can run out into the road at any time of day, but as crepuscular animals, they’re far more likely to be active during the half-light hours of dawn and dusk.

So, if you’re out and about during these ungodly hours, it pays to be especially cautious.

Consider The Date

As mentioned earlier, bucks are far more active and unpredictable during the rutting season, which plays out between October and December, meaning you’re more likely to run into them during fall and winter.

And as a result of the rutting season, does will be more active during spring when they’re either scavenging to support the development of their young or traveling further in order to outfox predators.

Stay Alert & Look Out For Warning Signs

Even if you’re driving during dusk or dawn, it’s essential to be vigilant, and if you see a sign warning of possible deer appearances, double your efforts to stay alert.

Exercise Caution After A Sighting

If you see one deer on or near the road ahead, don’t let your guard down if it moves on. These animals travel in herds and it may well be followed by more.

Honk Your Horn

Deer have fantastic hearing, so a honk of your horn can help thaw a frozen deer and get them on the move.

Improve Your Field Of Vision

Using your fog lights in poor light conditions is absolutely essential to avoiding potential calamity.

You’ll be able to see further ahead and to the sides of the road, giving you more time to react to the presence of a deer.

Final Thoughts

As it turns out, those daredevil deer aren’t looking for trouble; they’re just scared, confused, or trying to get someplace.

Remember, it’s not they that meddle in our territory, but we that meddle in theirs, so it’s entirely our responsibility to ensure our own and their safety — Drive slow, drive smart, and drive safe!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>