As temperatures begin to dip and the days get shorter, the Insurance Alliance of Michigan (IAM) has a warning to drivers: Be on the lookout for deer.
“Deer are more active in the fall, especially during dawn and dusk, so it’s important for drivers to keep their eyes peeled for deer, which can dart out in front of cars without warning,” said Dyck Van Koevering, general counsel for IAM. “More than 1,100 people were injured in car crashes involving deer in 2017, making it more important than ever to remain vigilant.”
In 2017, 50,949 vehicle crashes involving deer were reported in Michigan, resulting in 1,112 injuries and 16 deaths. Of the 16 deaths, 12 involved motorcyclists. In 2016, 1,200 people were hurt and 14 people were killed in 46,870 accidents.
The counties with the most reported vehicle crashes involving deer in 2017 were:
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)
“Remember, deer travel in groups, so if you see one near the side of the road chances are good others are nearby,” Van Koevering said. “Deer can be easily startled, making it hard to predict which direction they’ll run and when, so it’s best to be prepared for anything.”
IAM recommends the following safety tips:
· Watch for deer, especially at dawn and dusk, when they are most active. If you see one deer, approach cautiously, as there may be more out of sight.
· Deer often travel single file, so if you see one cross a road it’s likely more are nearby waiting to cross. When startled by an approaching vehicle, deer can panic and dart out from any direction without warning.
· Slow down when traveling through deer-populated areas.
· Always wear your seat belt.
· If a crash with a deer is unavoidable, don’t swerve. Instead, brake firmly, hold onto the steering wheel with both hands, come to a controlled stop and steer your vehicle off the roadway