It’s a common scene: the deer in the road stops, turns and stares, eyes flashing in your high beams, and the screech of your brakes fills your ears. For some, the brakes prevent what could have been a terrible accident. Others are not so lucky. Deer may look harmless, but they have cost Americans $3.5 billion in damages.
Who should come to the rescue but Volvo? In recent years, the Swedish manufacturer has focused on increasing safety. In 2010, Volvo introduced a system in the S60 sedan that brakes for pedestrians. This system includes a lane departure warning and pedestrian detection.
Now, the company is developing an Auto-Braking safety system that will detect movement on the side of the road and brake when a collision is imminent. Swedish automakers studied moose and deer movements and analyzed that data to develop their technology. Using infrared and radar technology, your Volvo car will be able to pick up motion off the side of the road and help you stay safe.
Although the safety system won’t be implemented for a few years, the announcement comes just in time for the fall, which is the worst season for deer collisions. October, November, and December are deer mating and migration season, making the roads even more dangerous. The news will surely be on the minds of many as they’re driving through deer-populated areas.
Deer collisions have dropped in the past couple of years, but Montana is still sixth on the list of states that have a high number of deer collisions. The odds of hitting a deer are 1 in 93. Hopefully Volvo’s new detection system will help decrease those odds in years to come.
In the meantime, while waiting for this technology to be perfected and implemented, here are some tips for staying safe:
- Slow down and stay alert
- Be wary around 6-9pm: this is when deer are most active
- Look for deer crossing signs
- Be careful in wooded areas
- Brake when you see a deer; swerving will confuse the animal and increases your chances of hitting another vehicle
- If you see one, look for more: deer travel in groups
- Wear your seat belt
If you do hit a deer, pull over carefully and call the police or animal control. Do not attempt to touch the animal. Call your insurance company when you get home.
Always be careful when driving and stay alert!