One of my worst nightmares came true at shortly after 10:00 a.m., on the beautiful, sunny morning of October 16th, as I was driving northbound on Highway 102, almost to Exit 13 at Truro.
I was in the right hand lane, doing the speed limit, when from the southbound lane, leaping across the highway barrier, was a deer. It hit the front of my car while in mid-leap.
In this split second, in this blink of an eye, I saw the deer in its last second of life as it leaped in front of my car, only to die in this same moment in time. I braked and pulled over to the side of the road, while the deer flew back into the left passing lane and landed, instantly dead, by the barrier.
Vehicles swooshed by!
My dashboard lit up and the engine light came on. I put my 4-ways on, shut the car off, and shakily called 911.
I apologized to this poor deer, dead in the road.
I was uninjured, just shook up, and so saddened that the thing that keeps me off the roads at night, the fear of hurting or killing an animal, had just come true.
The RCMP arrived on scene and parked behind my car, with the cruiser located a few feet out onto the paved shoulder to create a walkway from his car to mine. The officer walked to my car and began to do his job.
My husband arrived to be with me, and DOT soon arrived to remove the deer.
At the same time, another deer had been killed on the other side of the barrier in the southbound lane.
The traffic continued to swoosh by!
The officer tried to wave the cars over to the left lane, in hopes that the traffic would slow down and move over. It did not. The officer’s work place was compromised and his life was also at risk.
Section 106E (1) in the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act does state that when an emergency vehicle is stopped with flashing lights on, vehicles are to slow down to 60 km/hr. Many did not.
So, why have so many deer strikes been occurring along this stretch of road, and around the urban area of Truro?
One contributing factor for all these deer strikes near Truro may very well be because people are continuing to feed the deer.
The Town of Truro Bylaw: Feeding of Wild Birds and Animals: Number: B130-005 states (in part): No person shall feed one or more wild animals in any place…
To those of you who feed the deer, think for a minute. Your ‘pet deer’ stay around your urban homes where there is easy food, and the deer lose their ability to take care of themselves, as well as lose their fear of humans. This is not good for any wild animal. The fault does not lie with the deer, but they pay the price.
As disastrous results, your urban 'pet deer’ could be killed by cars, as well as risk the lives of the people in those vehicles.
Did someone’s ‘pet deer’ jump in front of my car that day? God only knows!
I could have been killed and I’m so thankful that I wasn’t, but the best car I have ever owned has since been written off, and an innocent animal’s life was lost, in the blink of an eye.
(Diana O’Connell is an advocate for all wildlife, and volunteers at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org)