November 6, 2012

“Football  is not a contact sport-dancing is a contact sport. Football is a collision sport.”  Vince Lombardi

I have written before about the length of my commute and the various objects and issues I have encountered. This post is another of those and is about collisions-albeit not the type found on a football field.  The main difference between this and previous posts about my ride is that the images included are not of inanimate objects, but of a living creature rendered inanimate.  They are not pretty pictures, so feel free to bypass this post.

Dead deer lying by the road

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

One day this past week while driving to work, I noticed over a half-dozen dead deer lying by the side of the road or in the median strips between lanes.  On a trip to Shepherdstown, WVA over the weekend, I counted eight dead deer.  Perhaps in the wake of Superstorm Sandy I have  become more sensitized to death and therefore noticed what may have been there all along.  What is certain, though, is that as I made this photograph, the speed and closeness of the passing cars and trucks was enough to give me pause.  The sound of the engines and tires hurt my ears and I definitely felt the push of air as the distance closed and was jostled by the turbulence as the vehicle passed.  It is important to mention that this photo was made on a back-county road and not the highways on which I usually drive.

Dead deer lying beside the road as a car speeds past

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Rightly or wrongly the conclusion I draw is this:  we are in such a hurry to get where we are going, and perhaps distracted by the enormity of technology that surrounds the cockpit of modern automotive machines, not to mention those we bring inside with us, that there is simply not enough reaction time left when a deer runs into the road.  Please note:  a car going 60 miles-per-hour travels approximately 88 feet-per-second.  Allowing for the time it takes the brain to process the visual information that something is moving into our path;  the time for the brain to recognize this as a danger;  the time for the brain to send the signal to actually react by moving a foot from the accelerator to the brake;  and the time for the laws of physics to bring such a large, moving object to a full stop, the car will have traveled  approximately 420 feet.  Forget about it if the driver is distracted.  The deer will not have a chance.

There are a couple of other points to add to this equation.  One, there are a lot of deer, and, two, by building so many roads and housing developments in areas where deer roam, we have crowded their space.  Therefore, it is also an unfortunate reality that sometimes drivers are doing everything right and the deer comes out of a wooded area and is moving at such a speed itself that there is not enough time for human reaction.  In this case, the driver does not have a chance.  The deer experiences the same result.

Take care.  And please pay attention.

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