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Old 09-28-2015, 05:18 PM   #1
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Did Something Foolish Yesterday

I was driving on HWY 395 between Klamath Falls OR and Reno when a great big hawk jumped up from the side of the road on the right in front of the passenger side of the truck. I made an evasive swerve to the right to miss the bird. My trailer fishtailed back and forth a few times and scared the crap out of me.

From now on, if it gets in my way, and I can't safely avoid collision, it will get hit. Hawk, deer, bunny rabbit. It doesn't matter. I can't afford a wreck.

Thing is, the hawk was just immediately there, and I reacted without thinking. I'm pounding it into my brain now, that if something like that happens again, I will try to NOT react. Man that was scary.
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Old 09-28-2015, 05:22 PM   #2
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I'm with ya Smoker. I developed that mindset way too many years ago. It's saved me from at least one nasty wreck and with the wife and kids in the car it would have been costly in more ways than one.
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Old 09-28-2015, 05:45 PM   #3
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Yep same mindset here also. I tell my 17 year old daughter that when she is driving. If a animal jumps out in front of her to try and safely slow down to avoid hitting it. But under no circumstances swerve. I can replace a car.
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Old 09-29-2015, 04:27 AM   #4
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I had an owl flew into the right side of my windshield pushing the radio antenna into the top of the windshield and that little knob on the top of the antenna broke the windshield. It was at night and all I saw was the owl's wings trying to stop (failed). It happened so quick and it was at night so I never had the time to react, except to quote Bill Cosby from years ago "first you say it and then you do it".
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Old 09-29-2015, 04:36 AM   #5
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From now on, if it gets in my way, and I can't safely avoid collision, it will get hit. Hawk, deer, bunny rabbit. It doesn't matter. I can't afford a wreck.
I'd suggest you re-think this. You can afford a wreck; it's the loss of personal life or injury that you would not want to afford. My father in law was driving down I-95 on an early morning, and hit a deer. It killed him. From the report of the Highway patrolman, the deer rolled up into the windshield, and struck him.

This taught me to do any type of evasive maneuver I can possibly do to lesson the impact if it's unavoidable. Truck/car/camper are all replaceable; my life or anyone that's traveling with me are not.
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Old 09-29-2015, 04:59 AM   #6
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Each situation can be different. Subtle changes in directions (minor swerve) to avoid a collision is a good choice. As an ex-LEO I have investigated many accidents. Generally, swerving will get you into more trouble. Most problems will occur when leaving the edge of the pavement and attempt to "jerk" the vehicle back on the road. A trailer compounds your problem greatly. If you are dealing with an animal swerving with a trailer is a poor choice. If faced with a head-on collision with another vehicle you must swerve if you can.
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Old 09-29-2015, 07:25 AM   #7
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I'd argue the 'Foolish' part!


Self-preservation is a very strong emotion! Suddenly seeing a solid object in your path, getting out of it's way is very normal.


Hard braking with some steering (ABS equipped vehicle) might be a better choice. But when you have .00000001 of a second until impact, habits and reflexes come first.
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Old 09-29-2015, 08:37 AM   #8
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I grew up showing and hauling very expensive quarter horses and it was ingrained into my head from an early age to never swerve to avoid hitting an animal and due to the risk of injury to the horses. That has stuck with me though out my life.
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Old 09-29-2015, 08:52 AM   #9
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I have the same mindset. I will swerve as much as I safely can depending on road conditions for a large animal. Goal would be to minimize harm to vehicle occupants if the large animal were to come through the windshield. At that point, minimization of damage to the vehicle is secondary; we're gonna bend sheet metal, no two ways about it. For smaller critters and birds, I won't make as much effort, it's just not worth it. It has taken me years to train myself, but it helps immensely to know constantly what kind of road you're on and who is around you, and I visualize constantly what I will do if the moment arises.

I have to hound on DW constantly; she swerves for butterflies! There's more than one reason I'm the one towing heavy and she's my navigator!
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:54 AM   #10
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I have the same mindset. I will swerve as much as I safely can depending on road conditions for a large animal. Goal would be to minimize harm to vehicle occupants if the large animal were to come through the windshield. At that point, minimization of damage to the vehicle is secondary; we're gonna bend sheet metal, no two ways about it. For smaller critters and birds, I won't make as much effort, it's just not worth it. It has taken me years to train myself, but it helps immensely to know constantly what kind of road you're on and who is around you, and I visualize constantly what I will do if the moment arises.

I have to hound on DW constantly; she swerves for butterflies! There's more than one reason I'm the one towing heavy and she's my navigator!
Where I live and if you go just a bit more north, we have cows and moose. Striking those with a car or small truck will put several hundred pounds of thrashing meat through the windshield. (A neighbor spend a week in the hospital when a cow had gotten loose.)

So, how can one estimate the mass of the critter you are about to slam into, calculate the potential damage to it, yourself and your payload...then take appropriate action?

Build a set of habits and hope & pray they work.

I was on the receiving end of a driver that crossed the double-yellow line on the road to my office. I slammed on the brakes and cut the wheel to the right. Good response right?

Nope. He hit me with about 1/3 of our cars overlapping. In hindsight, I should have accelerated into the shoulder.

A big enough truck will keep us safe from a collision any wild animal native to North America. But what about the other half of the registered motor vehicles?
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Old 09-29-2015, 10:10 AM   #11
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Build a set of habits and hope & pray they work.
At the end of the day, that's about all we've got isn't it? No single set of actions will always work.

Primary objective: keep occupants of my vehicle alive.
Secondary objective: keep occupants of other vehicles alive.
Tertiary objective: minimize damage to property.

I'd rather claim on property insurance than life insurance.
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Old 09-29-2015, 10:24 AM   #12
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...snip...
I'd rather claim on property insurance than life insurance.
Agreed 110%!
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Old 09-29-2015, 12:41 PM   #13
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Hey, I'm doing better. This morning around 5AM a ran straight over a jackrabbit. Just like the hawk, he came off the side of the road from nowhere. Luckily for thumper (maybe), the tires must have straddled him because I didn't hear a thump.
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Old 10-01-2015, 04:22 AM   #14
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This is a good thread. I'm learning that there are both good and bad points to reacting by swerving to avoid a critter. If its a small one, it will most likely meet its maker with me behind the wheel. If its a large animal, I'll take the best safest evasive maneuver I can to avoid it and other traffic.
For these reasons, I travel in the right lane whenever possible, and reduce my speeds when on country roads.
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Old 10-01-2015, 10:11 PM   #15
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Hitting an animal can be expensive. I have hit two deer and two dogs in 40+ driving years so I can testify to that.
But a friend swerved his truck to avoid an animal and jack knived before rolling the new 4x4 4dr truck and the trailer hauling 4 fourwheelers. All were a total loss.
In the end, you do what you think is right and pray for the best. Nobody was killed.
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