Dusk. The road winds through this cold desert, snow piles tucked in the lee of every sagebrush like the white bottoms of the pronghorn that call this place home. Around a bend, there are fields, dry stubble dotted with mule deer. A hundred, at least, in this one spot.
With sudden purpose, a doe hops the fence and enters the right-of-way. Several others lurk behind, waiting to see what their leader will do. Her antenna-like ears are perked, scooping the hum of the car. She hesitates.
Maybe she will; maybe she won’t. I slow to give her the pause to make her decision. Her safety depends on it. So does mine.
And herein lies the premise: if drivers are moving slowly enough, they will have time to avoid hitting large animals, such as deer and pronghorn, on the road. Drivers who are driving more slowly have a shorter stopping distance – the time it takes to see an animal, hit the brake, and stop.
This premise underlies a question I have heard countless times:…
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