When going to the office on cold winter mornings, I have seen bikers in covered helmets, booties and thick gloves braving the elements. However, motorists around the W&OD Trail are often surprised to see cyclists and animals coming off the path and crossing Herndon, Sterling and Loudoun County roadways. When a biker or deer appears in front of you on a snow covered road, and there is not enough time to brake, the following suggestions come from Rally Coach Tim O’Neil so that you do not end up killing the cyclist, the deer, yourself or totaling your car.
- Take your foot of the gas immediately. Do not fixate on the biker, deer or motorcycle – you will just drive straight at it if you do. Instead, look at the rear wheel or animal’s hindquarters, since cyclists, deer, elk, etc. are not likely to go into reverse ! Turn the steering wheel 90 degree to your right.
- Now your vehicle is headed toward the shoulder, ditch, guardrail, etc. Do not panic. You should look at where you want the car to go. Fix your eyes on the center of the road and turn left twice as far, about 180 degrees.
- Once you have cleared the obstacle, animal, human or other, counter steer 45 degrees to your right and hit the gas to straighten out.
Hopefully, these tips will enable you to “live and let live.” A car crash with a deer, cyclist or object in the road can be catastrophic. The damage we have seen caused by impacts with deer are truly astounding. The losses caused by car crashes with animals and cyclists are some of the most severe we see at the Landau Law Shop. you might even want to practice, and take the newer drivers in your household out to an empty, safe parking lot, to practice winter driving techniques in order to prevent injury, property loss and death.