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What’s the best way to avoid a deer-car accident?

October 26, 2013 by Steven M. Gursten

As deer hunting season begins, read these safety tips to prevent deer-car and deer-motorcycle accidents

deer car accidentDeer hunting season is upon us and Deer Crash Awareness Month in October is well under way. And as hunting season begins, deer-car accidents unfortunately increase. So please remember, don’t veer for deer!

It may sound harsh, but the worst thing you can do is swerve your car — or slam on the brakes — to avoid a deer. It’s far better to kill the deer than it is to seriously kill yourself, a passenger or another by veering into oncoming traffic, slamming into a tree or getting rear-ended.

The best way to avoid a deer-car accident is to try to slow down if you have time, but do not brake sharply. Stay in your lane.

And if you don’t have time to safely slow down before hitting the deer? Hit the deer.

Each year, there are more than 60,000 reported motor vehicle-deer crashes in Michigan. About 80 percent of these crashes occur on two-lane roads between dusk and dawn, according to the Michigan State Police.

Here’s a blog post we wrote with 6 tips to prevent deer car crashes. And here are additional safety tips from the Michigan State Police.

Preventing deer-motorcycle accidents

What about motorcycles?  People don’t really think of motorcycles striking deer. But recently there was a very tragic motorcycle crash involving deer that left two people dead.

A motorcyclist struck a deer in Kalamazoo County.  The resulting crash killed the rider as well as another motorist, according to an article in The Detroit Free Press, “2 dead after Michigan motorcycle crash involving deer.”

There are deer safety tips for drivers, but motorcyclists have unique needs. Motorcyclists must remember to be alert for deer whenever they ride, as deer-crashes frequently occur in urban, rural and suburban areas.

Tips for motorcyclists include:

  1. Slow down.
  2. Use your high beam headlights and additional driving lights whenever possible.
  3. Cover the brakes to reduce reaction time.
  4. If riding in a group, spread out riders in a staggered formation.
  5. Wear protective gear – especially your helmet – at all times.

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One Reply to “What’s the best way to avoid a deer-car accident?”

  1. Appreciate your article. I tell everyone driving a car you are safer to hit the deer instead of swerving. I live in NC and one area I travel are riddled with deer on the country roads and you knowing that I travel slower because I am always ready for one to come running out.

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