While driving around Lakeland and the surrounding areas, it's not uncommon to spot a deer, or two, along the road. Just like you, these animals enjoy the freedom of being able to roam as they please, so it becomes vital that you learn how to safely navigate the roadways as these creatures make their way around.

Learn how good driving habits and vehicle maintenance can keep you safer on the road.

Be a Conscious Driver

Always be a conscious driver, as your alertness is vital to protecting yourself from a collision with a deer or other wildlife. Part one of this process is not being a distracted driver. Put your cellphone on hands-free mode, enter the address in your navigation before you pull off and tune into your favorite radio station.

All of these activities take mere seconds to perform, but looking away from the road for even this short of a period is long enough for you to collide with a deer. Part two is about always being aware of your surroundings.

Be extremely diligent about avoiding these types of activities during dawn and dusk hours when deer are most active and around areas with known heavy deer traffic, due to the elevated risk.

Be Mindful of Your Speed

Make an effort to be mindful of your speed when driving and always travel the speed limit. When it comes to avoiding a collision with a deer, a short reaction time is essential and the faster you are traveling, the less time you have to react.

For example, a vehicle will go approximately 235 feet before coming to a stop when traveling at 50 miles per hour, but at 80 miles per hour, a car may need to travel around 500 feet to stop. When moving at a higher speed, it's far less likely that you will be able to react and stop your vehicle fast enough to avoid a collision.

Additionally, the higher the speed of a car that makes contact with a deer, the more significant the damage to the vehicle and the more severe the risk of injury. Always follow the suggested speed limit and if necessary, drive below the speed limit to stay safe.

Monitor Tire Tread

Avoiding a collision with a deer or other animal is all about the ability to react quickly. Although, traveling at a safe speed is key to reacting and stopping fast enough, driving with tires that have ample tread and that are in good overall condition is just as important, especially during adverse weather on when the ground is wet.

When a tire doesn't have ample tread, this also means that it doesn't have good traction. Instead of the tire gripping the ground it may hydroplane instead, this reduces the amount of control you have over the vehicle and increases the distance your car needs to travel in order to come to a complete stop.

In the state of Florida, anything under 2/32 of an inch is considered unsafe. The best way to examine your tread is to perform the penny test. If you place a penny upwards inside the tread grooves, you should only be able to see the top of Lincoln's head. If you see more than half of his head, the tread on your tires is dangerously low.

Ensure you're doing your part to remain safe on the road. At All American Discount Tires, your safety is important. Whether you need new tires or you need an alignment, suspension or brake work, don't hesitate to stop in to see us. We will expertly diagnose the problem with your vehicle and get your back on the road safely.