How to Avoid Deer Collision Accidents During Hunting Season
November 27, 2018
The firearms deer hunting season is officially underway in Michigan. Because deer become more active during this season, it’s a good time for drivers to sharpen their senses and learn some basic safety tips to avoid a deer collision accident.
While deer are not aggressive animals in their natural habitat, they can be very dangerous when they venture onto the road. If you hit a deer with your car, or worse, while riding a motorcycle, the results can be costly and deadly. According to Michigan State Police, there were more than 50,000 deer-related vehicle crashes statewide in 2017, resulting in more than 1,100 injuries and 16 deaths. The average cost to repair a vehicle after a deer-related crash is upwards of $2000.
About 80 percent of these crashes occurred on two-lane roads between dusk and dawn, when deer are most active. The most serious crashes resulted when motorists swerved to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or a fixed object, or when their vehicle rolled over as a result of the sudden swerve.
Where Are the Most Deer Accidents in Michigan?
Oakland County saw the most deer-related crashes in the state. Here is a ranking of the top 10 Michigan counties for motor vehicle (and motorcycle) accidents involving deer:
1) Oakland County (1,765)
2) Kent County (1,572)
3) Jackson County (1,310)
4) Lapeer County (1,185)
5) Ottawa County (1,122)
6) Montcalm County (1,075)
7) Isabella County (1,057)
8) Huron County (1,055)
9) Allegan County (1,044)
10) Sanilac County (1,034)
- Deer usually travel in groups. If you see one, there is a good chance others are nearby.
- Deer are easily startled, especially by unexpected things such as headlights and engine noise. When this occurs, their movements can be quite unpredictable.
- Deer travel single file. If one crosses the road, others will probably follow.
- Deer are most active during daybreak and sunset.
How to Avoid Hitting a Deer
Here are some safety tips from the Insurance Alliance of Michigan (IAM) and the Michigan State Police:
- Be especially vigilant during dawn and dusk, when deer are more likely to be on the move.
- Remember that a startled deer may panic and dart out in any direction.
- Slow down when traveling through deer-populated areas, especially when there are warning signs.
- If one deer crosses the road in front of you, remember that deer travel in herds and several others may be right behind.
- Do not rely on deer whistles or other ultra-sonic devices to prevent deer crashes.
- Be alert all year long, but especially in spring and fall when more deer are on and near roadways.
- Do not rely on flashing your headlights or honking your horn to deter deer. This may startle them into running in front of your vehicle instead of back into the woods.
- When driving in a deer-populated area, look as far as possible down the road and scan the roadsides, particularly near fields, heavily wooded areas or known deer crossing areas.
- Always wear your seatbelt and make sure your passengers are buckled up, too, regardless of the season.
- Do not drive if you have been drinking or if you are tired.
- Do not engage in distracted driving. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes and mind on the road.
- If a crash with a deer is unavoidable, don’t swerve. Instead, brake firmly, hold onto the steering wheel with both hands and come to a controlled stop. Steer your vehicle off the roadway. Then pull off the road, turn on your emergency flashers and call the police to report the crash.
“Deer can appear to come out of nowhere, so even the most careful drivers can hit one,” said Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm.
Michigan auto accident law is complicated, but finding the right attorney is simple. Our experienced lawyers understand the intricacies of no-fault insurance, and we will fight for the compensation you and your family deserve.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.