Letters to the Editor

Deer warners endanger drivers

Driving up and down Whidbey Island on a regular basis, it seems to me there are more deer on the island this year than I ever recall seeing. In fact, while I am not a hunter, I have recently caught myself wondering if I shouldn’t start hunting deer, mainly as a form of self defense.

Anyone familiar with deer know they are skittish, unpredictable and seemingly suicidal with the way they dart into the road, stand near or in the road, etc. Yet recently, I’ve discovered an even more dangerous animal while driving the roads of Whidbey: people trying to warn others about deer.

In the past several weeks, I’ve seen drivers flashing their lights on and off, switching from low to high beams and back. I’ve even seen people out for a walk or jog who yell and wave, then just a few yards later, while I’m still trying to figure out what they are doing, I nearly hit one or more deer. Recently, I even encountered a motorist sitting facing the wrong way on the road, high beams blinding oncoming drivers, just a few feet away from a dead deer in the road.

People, please, I am begging: stop trying to warn other motorists about deer. Most of us are aware of the problem. Most of us know deer can inflict serious damage when struck, and I suspect many of us have no desire to harm the deer, either. However, what you are doing is tremendously distracting and dangerous. In fact, a couple of times, the actions have been so dangerous that I’m pretty sure you’re breaking the law and/or exposing yourselves to civil liability by trying to “help.”

You can’t control what the deer are going to do. Drivers who care will constantly be on the lookout for deer and do what we can to avoid hitting them. Distracting drivers, blinding them, causing roadside shows that leave people staring into their rear view mirrors, etc., is a bigger problem than the deer ever have been. If you want to help, lower your high beams when facing oncoming traffic and let us focus on what is going on in front of us.

Tom Pacher

Oak Harbor

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