I rather enjoy deep space encounters, ya sometimes they're annoying if you're afk and one decides to kill you, but there are times when I just want ship combat and deep space encounters are the perfect solution.
I still don't understand how people are getting instantly blown up when they get pulled into random encounters. As soon as you enter the instance, a dialogue box pops up with the options "continue" or "exit system". When you press "exit system", you know what it does? It makes you exit the system! Problem solved! If you manage to get destroyed in the time it takes for you to do it, you're in an area waaaay above your level, and you should be expecting that. Yes, the loading screens are annoying, but being accidentally pulled into a DSE has never cost me more than 30 seconds. If anything, I think there should be more of them, at least around the Federation/Klingon/Romulan borders.
But you do have to be quick on the trigger. Once the first shot is fired by the enemy, you can no longer exit the mission.
This is something that needs to be addressed if they are going ahead with the death penalty idea; it is no fun getting ganked by the game itself if you also have to get penalized for it.
I don't know what you're flying, but I have no problem surviving the first group in a DSE. Most of the time it's just two ships, maybe a bunch of fighters helping them out. Both my Science Vessel and my Cruiser have no problem dispatching them with relative ease. AoE attacks help.
I still hate getting sucked into them though. I now only go AFK in missions or when I'm at a star base, or Risa.
It varies. I've been pulled into a group like that, cleaned them up, then exited (or stayed, depending on the timer).
However, I've also been pulled into a massive fleet where I ended up dead in seconds. Evasive Maneuvers does not help much at that point.