According to the Michigan State Policy, “Each year there are nearly 50,000 vehicle-deer crashes in Michigan. About 80 percent of these crashes occur on two-lane roads between dusk and dawn.” As deer and other animals movement is more prevalent during the nighttime hours, it makes it extremely difficult to see these types of animals while traveling in a vehicle at any rate of speed. This is when the saying “deer in the headlights” can become a reality. The driver also often times have little or no time to react, so what can you do in these types of situations? According to the Michigan State Police, if a crash is unavoidable they recommend following the below advice:
- Don’t swerve. Brake firmly, hold onto the steering wheel, and bring your vehicle to a controlled stop.
- Pull off the road, turn on your emergency flashers, and be cautious of other traffic if you exit your vehicle.
- Report the crash to the nearest police agency and your insurance company.
The Michigan State Police also recommends the tips below to help avoid a potential deer hit.
- Stay aware, awake, and sober.
- Vehicle-deer crashes occur year-round, but be especially alert in spring and fall.
- Signs are placed at known deer crossing areas to alert you of the possible presence of deer.
- Deer are herd animals and frequently travel in single file. If you see one deer cross the road, chances are there are more waiting.
- Be alert for deer, especially at dawn and dusk. If you see one, slow down.
- Don’t rely on gimmicks, flashing your high-beam headlights or honking your horn to deter deer.
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan has a high population of deer, so these types of accidents are extremely common. So, what can you do to be sure your vehicle is covered? Talk with your insurance agent to determine how they classify deer hits, and be sure you are aware of the deductible associated with it in the event you decide to file a claim.
For more tips on safe driving, please visit Michigan.gov for more information.