An out-of-state motorist died near Mason City early this morning. State Patrol investigators say the driver swerved to avoid a small animal that ran across Highway 65 in front of the car, and the vehicle rolled over several times, killing the driver and injuring a passenger. Driver Safety Specialist Scott Falb says it’s a pattern safety analysts find all too often.
“Most of us are animal lovers,” Falb says, “and the last thing that we ever want to do is to hit an animal. But quite frankly, that attitude can put us in danger.” Every year there are a number of crashes in which drivers say they were trying to avoid a deer or other animal and lost control of their vehicle. The swerving high-speed vehicle rolls over, goes into a ditch, and someone’s injured or may even die as a result.
Falb says that’s a high price to pay, and the pattern of those fatal accidents spurred state safety and transportation officials to collaborate in recent years on a PR campaign titled “Don’t Veer for Deer.”
Even though you don’t want to hurt deer, Falb says it’s much safer for the driver and passengers in the vehicle to hit the animal that it is to make a “radical” maneuver that’s likely to make them lose control of the vehicle. The dead man in this morning’s crash is identified as 47-year-old Brian Madrid of Albuquerque, New Mexico. A 43-year-old woman who was riding in the car is hospitalized in Mason City.