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“So who gets the deer: me or the dog?”

August 15, 2006, 1:08 AM

I am sad to announce that my Sable got into its first accident tonight on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I hit a deer. I was going southbound at 40 mph (five below the posted speed limit of 45), and two deer darted out in front of me closely enough that I didn’t have time to stop or swerve. I barely cleared the first one, and then I nailed the second one head-on in the body. That deer bounced off the front of the car, and then rolled stiff-legged off the road and landed in the grass. It looked as if it was one-piece construction and not a real deer, because no parts of the body moved – the whole thing just rolled off, appearing completely rigid. I don’t know what happened to it from there, because I couldn’t stop right there due to lack of available shoulder space. The rule is that if you stop on the Parkway, you have to have all four wheels off the road. I was able to accomplish this about a quarter mile down the road.

Thankfully, the Sable survived intact for the most part. The deer left a big dent in the right fender, left a dent in the hood, and jarred the grille loose, but the car was driveable, and both headlights survived intact. I was not injured at all, though I can’t say the same for the deer. I guess the best way to describe the Sable’s post-deer condition is “walking wounded”, since it walked away from the accident, but didn’t make it out unscathed.

I initially tried to call 1-800-PARKWATCH (Blue Ridge Parkway emergency dispatch) from the accident scene, but got no signal. So I drove up to the nearby Boston Knob overlook, and after two tries, I got a good signal, and reported the accident. They got my contact information, and said that a ranger would call me and do the accident report over the phone.

So here’s what the damage looks like:

Front damage following deer collision

Right front side panel damage following deer collision

As you can see, there’s a big dent in the side, and a gaping hole where the grille ought to be. The grille actually popped out after the accident, after I attempted to raise the hood to make sure it would still go up. It did go up, but the grille popped out as soon as I touched it. And then it latched down successfully when I closed it. So good deal there.

I also got some girls at the gas station where I took these photos to take a photo of me holding the now-liberated grille:

Holding the now-liberated grille

So there we are. As I consider myself a good driver, I didn’t think I’d have to take the Sable back to Whitesell’s (where I bought the car) so soon. But you know what they say… @#$% happens. And I’m going to move quickly to get the Sable fixed, because this is my car, and it’s not going to go around looking like it’s been in an accident for very long.

Compare this to the Previa, on the other hand, where we never repaired the damage from this accident, and so the rear bumper looked like it had been in an accident for two and a half years – from the accident to its retirement.

Trust me, I’m getting the Sable fixed quickly.

Web site: The audio clip from which the title of this entry comes (warning: profanity). Listen to this, because this is hilarious...

Song: *thud* - the sound of a deer hitting a 2004 Sable wagon

Quote: I hit a deer! - What I thought as soon as it happened, while I was driving along the parkway and listening to Ellen Degeneres on my iPod