Deer season means hunting-- and wrecks - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Deer season means hunting-- and wrecks

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December 9, 2004

Albany-- It happens 40,000 times a year in Georgia. Cars and trucks collide with deer. And right now, it's deer mating season, which means you're at much higher risk of hitting a deer.

One Albany family found out the hard way.

Richard Barnhill has a reason to be thankful, he, his wife, and three children survived a crash with a deer. "I mean there was no chance. We couldn't even catch our breath. We immediately hit the deer, dead center."

The buck caused his Land Rover to flip on Highway 300 South. "The guard rail guided us up on the bridge, and when all the tires hit the concrete, it caught and rolled over one time on the bridge, and stopped on the tires facing back the way we had come."

The car was totaled. Amazingly, the Barnhills were fine. "I can't say enough about the seatbelts, and nobody was hurt."

Deer are most active at sunrise or sunset, and driving then requires caution. Georgia State Patrol Trooper Darryl Benton said, "Try to be more aware of your driving habits. We don't advise anyone to avoid a deer collision, because that may cause more serious injury or more serious accident."

There were an estimated one and a half million deer car crashes last year, killing a record 210 Americans. Richard Barnhill says he is thankful his family is not adding to that statistic.

Car deer crashes are also very expensive for motorists, causing more than one-point-one billion dollars in vehicle damage last year.

The best advice for staying safe on the roads? SLOW DOWN.

posted at 3:35PM by dave.miller@walb.com