Each year more than 1,100 wildlife/vehicle collisions are reported to Washington State Patrol.
That number is believed to be much higher because the state Department of Transportation removes an average of 3,500 animals from Washington roads annually.
Whidbey Island is specifically cited for having a high number of deer vs. vehicle collisions, specifically on state highways 525 and 20.
Since moving here, one of the things I’ve found most enjoyable is the abundance of wildlife.
It’s interesting to see traffic on a busy road screech to a halt as a doe and her fawn cross Main Street.
There doesn’t seem to be anyplace they won’t venture, including through my apartment complex.
Just this past weekend my parents were visiting and we stopped to watch a doe and her fawns — one being the famed white fawn — grazing in a yard along Madrona Way.
This prompted a conversation about a recent newspaper article my mother had read about increasing deer populations and what to do if you’re about to hit one. Later that day I became one of the statistics — I struck a deer on the highway near Greenbank Farm.
Isn’t that ironic?
The incident promises to be forever traumatizing.
However, as a result of this minor accident, some valuable knowledge was gained.
Heeding the advice my mother gleaned from the article, I didn’t panic and swerve my car, but hit my break and kept my car straight.
Swerving would have risked entering the oncoming lane of traffic or veering off the road and potentially hitting a tree, pedestrian or some kind of structure.
Swerving a car to avoid wildlife has the potential to cause significant damage and injury to a driver and others.
I also learned that, had I swerved off of the road and not actually hit the deer and had an accident, it would have counted under my collision insurance — not my comprehensive — and would translate into a ding on my driving record. That, in turn, could bump up insurance premiums.
Keep these bits of information in mind as you’re traveling the island.
It might come in handy sometime.