Slow down this month
It’s hard to believe that it’s already November.
I remember the giddy feeling that came over me back in April when we got those first few days of 2016 that were genuinely warm. And now, sev- en months have pretty much flown by and it’ll be time to fall back with daylight savings this weekend.
Over the last couple days I’ve been thinking about the extra fishing trips that were planned in my head but never quite made it into reality. Where did the time go?
Daylight savings officially starts at 2 a.m. Sunday and it is indeed a good reminder each year to check the batteries in the smoke detectors in your house. Batteries should be changed at least once a year. And check the date of manufacture on your alarms.
Alarms should be completely replaced every 10 years. According to FEMA, the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms. That’s a good
reason to get out the stepstool this weekend.
Getting that extra hour on the weekend makes me feel a little bit like being a kid on Christmas morning. What will you do with that extra hour?
Here’s a suggestion: get outdoors and do something as a family. An early morning fishing trip comes to mind. With the time change, it won’t feel quite so early. A bike ride or hike to check out the fall foliage is also a good idea. Whatever you do, make sure you get the kids outside, too.
After the time change, the sun is going to set before most of us get home from work and a big chunk of our playtime is going to vanish. Once the kids get done with their homework,
there won’t be any daylight left for a game of ball or a brief stroll after dinner. Sunsets that used to take place after 6 p.m. will now start happening before 5. And they’ll just keep getting earlier and earlier until the winter solstice.
The time change means many commuters will spend more time driving in the dark for the next few weeks. Those commutes can be especially hazardous this time of year because November happens to be the peak breeding season for white-tailed deer in our region.
Deer are normally cautious animals that retreat at the slightest sounds or disturbances. But during the breeding season, also known as the rut, deer have one-track minds and right now safety is not their number one priority.
That’s why drivers need to make it theirs. Maryland’s deer population is estimated to be over 200,000 animals. Country roads aren’t the only place to be on the lookout for deer. There are collisions every year within the city limits of Prince Frederick, Waldorf, La Plata and Lexington Park. It’s important to be vigilant wherever you drive this time of year.
Deer are most active at dawn and dusk. But this time of year, it’s not uncommon to see deer out in the open during the daytime. Bucks are experiencing a
surge of hormones that compel them to track down obliging does. And busy roadways will not deter them.
When you’re out driving this month, take extra precautions to stay safe. If you think you see a deer in the roadway
ahead of you, slow down. They often travel in groups and others may be nearby.
If a doe is crossing the road, one or more bucks may be close on her hooves. And deer have been known to jump right into the path of an oncoming car. Honking often scares them off, but if your headlights are on, deer can get disoriented and move erratically. If one
does get in front of your car, don’t swerve. You could lose control of your vehicle and hit something more serious like a tree or another car.
And don’t rely on a deer whistle. Those gimmicks haven’t been proven to make deer behave any differently. Researchers at the University of Georgia recently concluded that they aren’t effective at all.
Save your money and just slow down.
I can tell you from experience, collisions with deer are costly and a real hassle. I used to leave for work well before dawn, and even though I kept a watchful eye on the road ahead of me, I’ve had two encounters with deer I wish I could have avoided. Paying the deductible and renting a car twice was
enough to make me never want to see a deer on the side of the road again.
But the deer are out there, and it’s up to us to exercise some caution while driving these next few weeks as the deer respond to Mother Nature’s command to go forth and procreate. They won’t be watching for us, so we’ve got to watch out for them.