Don’t veer for deer! 6 tips to prevent deer car crashes
Deer hunting season is here. This also means it’s the time of year when we have deer in roads, sometimes causing very serious car accidents. I still represent several people who continue to recover attendant care (in-home nursing services) from near-fatal car accidents involving deer that left them with life-altering injuries.
Deer-car accidents are very serious, and deer caused over 50,000 car crashes in Michigan last year alone. But despite all of this, most drivers don’t know what to do when they are suddenly confronted with a deer.
First, consider the statistics, from the Michigan Deer Crash Coalition:
- In 2011, there were 53,592 deer car accidents, down from 55,867 in 2010.
- Last year, eight people were killed in deer car accidents and another 1,464 were injured.
- In Michigan, deer car accidents cost at least $130 million per year.
- The auto average insurance claim is about $2,100 in damage, usually to the front of the vehicle.
Here’s the total number of deer car crashes by county in 2011, according to the five counties with the most incidences:
- Kent County – 1,750 deer car accidents
- Oakland County – 1,736 deer car accidents
- Jackson County – 1,536 deer car accidents
- Calhoun County - 1,429 deer car accidents
- Montcalm County – 1,340 deer car accidents
What to do? Don’t veer for deer. 6 tips to avoiding accidents
If you are suddenly confronted with a deer when driving:
- DON’T SWERVE.
- Apply your brakes firmly.
- Hold your steering wheel firmly.
- Come to a controlled stop.
- Steer your vehicle well off the roadway.
- Park in a safe place where you are not at risk of being hit.
How to prevent deer-car accidents
The good news is, there are things you can do to prevent these crashes:
1. Watch for deer, especially at dawn and dusk. Deer are most active during this time, especially during the fall mating season. In spring, deer will seek food, and then find cover. They often feed on the grass along the road. But it’s important to be alert for deer all year round.
2. If you see one deer, know there may be more. Deer often travel in a single file line. So if you see one cross a road, there may be more nearby. When startled by an approaching vehicle, they often panic and dart out from any direction without warning.
3. Watch for deer warning signs. These signs are placed at known deer-crossing areas and serve as a first alert that deer may be near.
4. Slow down. Reduce your speed when traveling through deer-population areas.
Here’s a blog we wrote last year on 13 tips to avoid hitting a deer.
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