How Far Would You Go to Let a Deer Cross the Road?

Who was wrong in this scenario, as I tried to let a lone deer catch up to the others across White Road?

Here's the question I'll be asking, if you gentle readers will oblige: Who was wrong in this scenario — the deer, the driver of the black SUV, or me?

In the dark of night about 10 days ago, I was about to pull onto White Road in Chesterfield from my street. At the stop sign, I noticed drivers on White were halted, about four in a row, waiting for a group of deer to cross.

They passed, the cars drove on, and I was about to pull out when I noticed another lone deer on my side of White, trying to find an opening to catch up to the others.

Fearing the approaching cars wouldn't see it as it prepared to dart across, I eased into the street slowly, stopped and waved my arms for the traffic to halt.

I was certain the deer would dart into the street and get creamed by the approaching cars, certainly injuring or killing the deer and possibly injuring passengers in the approaching cars.

The driver of the black SUV flashed his lights at me and stopped, with two or three cars behind him. I thought the deer would take this opportunity. As it turns out, it tried…but in apparent confusion, it just bounced off the side of the black SUV and turned back.

I'd done all I felt I could do and pulled away, explaining to the driver of the SUV, "That's what I was trying to signal." The driver, obviously put out by the whole thing, replied: "I'd have already passed; he'd have missed me if you'd have let me go."

Perhaps. Perhaps not. And he was apparently indifferent to the two or three cars right behind him as well.

I'm not one of those people who hates having the deer in our residential areas. But I'm not a very good gardener, either. I was just thinking about the possible injuries to man and beast.

So who was wrong? What would you have done? I'd love to see your comments, or your votes in the poll below.

Kurt Greenbaum March 12, 2012 at 04:51 PM
I'd really love to hear some points of view on this. I kind of like the deer hanging around, but hate to see them near the road. What would you have done?
Ozarkette March 12, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Deer are not the most intelligent of creatures. You saw the deer and were trying to get the other drivers to notice. That was smart. The SUV driver wasn't really at fault, either...the deer ran into him, but a black SUV in dim light doesn't stand out. Did his SUV get damaged? I didn't quite understand...he said he'd already passed the deer. I'm not sure that anyone or anything was more or less at fault...too many what ifs in the scenario. Deer are OK, but they need to be thinned, too, for their own good. Better by other means than running into vehicles.
Kurt Greenbaum March 12, 2012 at 05:32 PM
The SUV driver guessed that he would have been past before the deer tried to cross if I hadn't stopped him. Of course, he couldn't know for sure, and that discounts the fact that other cars were *right* behind him.
meg langa March 13, 2012 at 01:35 AM
I would've tried to put a leash on the deer and walk him across the street. And if he was real nice, I may have tried to take him home and raise him as my own.. he'd have to leave my hostas alone, though. :-)
Kurt Greenbaum March 13, 2012 at 12:48 PM
I should have tried that. Thanks, Meg. ;-)
Tom Rothwell March 16, 2012 at 03:53 PM
I stopped traffic for a two foot iguana on Delray Beach, FL on Tuesday. Everybody behind me was cool with it. I also witnessed the aftermath of a small deer running into the side of a minivan on Schoettler Valley Dr. Extensive damage to the mini-van. Deer are dangerous and we must our best to pay attention and do our best to alert other drivers.
Kurt Greenbaum March 16, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Thanks for your comment, Tom. Brings back nice memories of when I lived in Boynton Beach, too, just north of Delray...
Sensible? I think so March 17, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Though I don't know the situation, it might have been fortunate for the deer that the SUV wasn't moving, or was moving slowly, when the deer ran into it. If the SUV was moving rapidly, it might have been much worse. Depends on the directions of movement of the deer and SUV, of course. If the SUV was stopped or close to it, I don't see how its driver could be blamed. Would someone who voted for the SUV driver care to explain their reasoning? I voted for the deer.
Kurt Greenbaum March 18, 2012 at 08:32 PM
My contention was this: It appeared to me that the deer was on the verge of darting out into the street, in front of the on-rushing black SUV. I thought if I could stop the traffic, the deer would cross safely and we'd all be on our way. It didn't turn out that way. The SUV stopped, and the deer, apparently still confused by all the commotion, ran into the SUV. Do deer have lousy vision at night? I don't know. It almost appeared as though the deer literally couldn't see the black vehicle in front of it....
Jean Whitney March 18, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Sounds like a case of "deer caught in the headlights" all around?


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