By Richard Hughes
When deer or elk are about to cross the road, the natural urge is to lay on the horn. This can disorient the animals and cause them to panic, and we have all seen the results. One solution I have found that works quite well is this:
If you see animals beside the road, honk the horn in short bursts. Honk for two seconds, wait for two seconds, honk for two seconds, wait, etc. This allows the animal to determine where you are and will urge them away from the sound.
Caution: If the animals are already on the roadway, tap the horn and slow way down. If they panic, they many times slip and fall on the hard surface. By tapping and slowing it gives them a chance to move away and warns the others to get away from the road.
When you have passed the area, watch for approaching rigs and flash you lights in sets of three bursts, using the same timing as you have just used on the horn. I use three instead of two (cop ahead) or continual on and off to wake up the oncoming driver.
One time, at night, I flashed an oncoming car and the sky lit up with flashing lights. The officer swung his car around and told me, “It is illegal to flash to warn of a police car.” (How did I know he was a cop?) I tried to explain that I was warning of an elk herd up the road. Just then a car shot past, and soon skidding tires were heard followed by a THUMP! The officer said, “Be sure to drive safely. I have to attend to an accident.”
[Editor’s note: Don’t blame Richard for the horrific story title — Bambi made me do it.]