Safety office warns of rise in deer strikes
By Jim Hammonds , 30th Space Wing Safety
/ Published January 26, 2009
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg has seen a recent spike in vehicle versus wildlife mishaps, or vehicular mishaps caused by motorists swerving to avoid wildlife on the road, primarily deer.
Vandenberg's vast acreage is home to many active wildlife populations. There are extensive road systems that pass through the wildlife's natural habitat, exposing base motorists to the dangers of encountering deer, coyote or other animals during the daytime or nighttime hours. Although the wildlife is primarily active from dusk to dawn, encounters can be expected at any time.
30th Space Wing ground safety officials offer the following tips for drivers on Vandenberg, as well as throughout the local area:
- Remain vigilant while driving for any signs of wildlife on or adjacent to the roadways.
- When wildlife is observed, slow down and be prepared for erratic actions by the wildlife.
- When driving at nighttime or during periods of reduced visibility, again, slow down! Be especially cautious to keep the vehicle's speed slow enough to allow reaction time within the area illuminated by the vehicles headlights.
- Except during foggy conditions, and when traffic permits, use high-beam headlights.
- If a deer or other animal races out into the vehicle's path of travel, firmly apply the brakes.
- Do not, under any circumstances, swerve the vehicle - if you hit a deer you will cause some moderate damage to the vehicle; if you swerve you stand the chance of losing control of your vehicle and suffering a severe, potentially life-altering crash.
Enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us in this area. Just keep in mind that Vandenberg shares the scenery with many wild animals.