If you were driving down the road and happened to see a reindeer with glowing, fluorescent antlers, you would probably think you were being pranked or that Santa parked his sleigh somewhere nearby. Although fluorescent deer antlers sound strange and maybe even like something out of a science fiction novel, they are actually real and could prove to be helpful in preventing car accidents related to deer.
If you live in an area where there are large deer populations, you know how dangerous deer can be to travelers. Hitting a deer can be an awful experience and can cause damage to your car and even cause you to become injured. There are many products that can be attached to your vehicle to help deer spot you before you spot them or to make noises that let them know you are coming so they can get out of the way.
Some of these products work, but most are not affective. In Finland, reindeer are a big problem for travelers and cause thousands of wrecks every year. According to Anne Ollila of the Finnish Reindeer Herder's Association, numerous attempts to make reindeer more visible on roadways have been made, but nothing has seemed to work. The group has even went as far as to use reflective tape and reflectors on the antlers of the deer to make them more visible.
Although the reflectors and tape work, the reindeer are able to rip them off easily and they are not considered a long-term option. The group recently came up with another solution, and has painted the antlers of 20 reindeer with various fluorescent dyes. The group will monitor the deer for several weeks to determine which dyes are the easiest to see and how they hold up to the Arctic cold.
If the group determines that the dyes are a logical way to protect the deer and drivers from each other, the dyes may be used by herders to help protect their deer.
What would you think if you saw a reindeer with glowing antlers on the side of the road and do you think the dyes are a logical solution?
Image via Wikimedia Commons