Dec

8

I thought I was exempt from hitting Deer until a few years ago. For 15 years I drove nearly weekly (300 miles round trip) on the Taconic parkway (no fencing, always surrounded with woods, no gas stations) to and from my Mass. country house. I am a speedy driver but extremely vigilant for all the telltale signs of danger. It was snowing and there was snow pack on the road and 4′ foot snow embankments along the side. Nonetheless, three years ago, an adult deer leapt over a snow bank and landed in front of me. There was no possibility to avoid hitting him. Now here is the key to survival (I read about this maneuver years earlier and had rehearsed it mentally several times).I avoided swerving, braked (got down to about 45mph), then eased off the brake as I was about to hit him to get the nose of my Volvo cross country back up — this is to prevent him sliding up the hood and come through the windshield. I hit him square; split him open, and propelled him ahead. A trooper came by. We pulled the carcass off to the side and, yes, the Volvo survived with only one headlight out and I continued the next 120 miles home. There is no doubt luck helped as well. And, the AWD was also equipped with four studded winter tires; that helped too.

Rod Fitzsimmons Frey adds:

When my brother was 17, he had a season pass to a ski hill about 3.5 hours drive from our home. He would drive there every Friday and return every Sunday night with his friend who also had a season pass. They were in a Chevy Sprint.

Being 17, they were foolish. One of the games they played to pass the time was: sometimes when they were passing a car on the fairly deserted highway one or the other would yell “DUCK!”, whereupon both would duck below the dashboard for three seconds or so, just as they passed the other car. In their imagination, the other driver would see a driverless car passing on the highway. Great fun.

In any event, one Sunday they were driving back about 11pm. My brother’s friend catches a glimpse of a running moose out of the corner of his eye. “DUCK!” Because of this foolish game, reflexes take over, and they both duck under the dash as the moose shears off the top of the Sprint. Both boys unhurt: car now completely lacking any metal above the windshield wipers.


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