A Tusla, Oklahoma school district experienced a pretty intense situation earlier this week when one of its school buses collided with a deer and ran off the road.
According to local news stations, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol stated the Merritt Public School bus had its hood ripped off during the deer encounter. The authorities shared that the bus was on OK-6 in Beckham County when the animal ran into the road. The bus driver, as well as one student, was on the bus during the impact. The student’s backpack flew out of the bus and landed approximately 30 yards behind the crash site.
Despite the scene, there were no serious injuries reported. The driver did end up going to the hospital to get checked out. In response to the accident, authorities are reminding drivers that deer are moving around this time of the year. It was also noted that it’s common for drivers to encounter the animals on rural roads and highways.
“If you spot a deer, slow down, and lay on your horn to fight them off the road,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol shared. “Don’t swerve to avoid hitting a deer because it could make a bad situation even worse.”
AAA Oklahoma Previously Reminded Drivers to Watch For Deer
Last year, AAA Oklahoma sent out an alert reminding drivers to watch out for deer that may walk across the road.
Fox 25 reports that AAA advised drivers that October through December is deer matching season. This means that the animals will be more active. This means more run-ins with deer and increasing the risk of potential, deadly collisions.
“Safety is priority one, so first and foremost we are encouraging motorists to adjust their driving behaviors to prevent a collision,” Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma spokesperson stated at the time. “But they may also want to adjust their insurance coverage because a minor deer strike may mean a major expense.”
Along with the warnings from AAA, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office said 836 crashes involving deer happened in 2020. Among the crashes, two people died and 21 others had serious injuries. Gamble went on to add, “Deer can be unpredictable so even the best drivers are at risk. Deer collisions can put a serious dent in your wallet if you don’t have a comprehensive insurance policy with adequate coverage.”
Oklahoma State University extension wildlife specialist Dwayne Elmore also told KGOU that deer aren’t migratory. However, they do often move within their territory as seasons change. “They’ll often let their guard, and they become less wary. They’ll cross roads, you know, with reckless abandon. And this is a time of year, we really need to be careful when we’re driving, particularly, during the low light periods early and late in the day and at night.”