Car Accidents in Michigan: Look Out for the Deer During Mating Season
The arrival of fall means different things to different people. To some, it’s back-to-school season and to others, it’s the return of football season, sweater weather, or cider mill season. But it’s important to remember that fall also means the risk of getting into a car-deer accident is about to go up.
In 2017, it was estimated there were 1.75 million deer in the state of Michigan. With so many deer in the state, there is a risk of accidentally hitting a deer with your car all year long. But the risk tends to increase between the months of October and December due to the fact that it is deer mating season so deer are more active than usual.
Car accidents involving deer are a major problem in the state. According to Michigan State Police, about 50,000 car-deer collisions are reported in the state of Michigan every year. Data from State Farm Insurance shows that Michigan drivers have a 1 in 85 chance of getting in a car accident involving a deer. In 2016, deer-vehicle crashes in Michigan resulted in 14 deaths and 1,240 injuries. So with those kinds of numbers, what can you do to reduce the risk of hitting a deer with your car?
One of the best things you can do to stay safe is make sure you are very alert when you drive. Not only should you be well rested and fully focused on the road, keep in mind that deer tend to be most active during dawn and dusk. Keep an eye out for signs warning that deer might be nearby, but remember that just because there isn’t a sign, that doesn’t necessarily mean deer aren’t in the area. If you see a sign, slow down and keep a close eye out for signs of deer hanging out near the side of the road.
Be extra careful if you’ll be traveling along two-lane roads. Approximately 80% of car accidents involving deer occur along two-lane roads. If you’re driving at dusk, night, or dawn, using your high beams can help improve your visibility and make it easier to spot deer. However, only use your high beams if there is no oncoming traffic.
If you see a deer by the side of the road that looks like it’s about to cross the road, brake if it is safe for you to do so. If you are able to safely stop your car after seeing one deer without hitting it, remember that deer often travel in groups so if you see one, there are very likely others nearby. If hitting a deer is unavoidable, brake your car firmly and do not try to veer or swerve out of your lane to avoid hitting it. A lot of people have good intentions in trying to avoid hitting a deer, but trying to avoid hitting the deer often causes cars to hit fixed objects, other cars, or to roll over, resulting in more severe accidents.
If you’ve hit a deer with your car, move your car to the side if you’re able to do so, turn on your hazard lights, and call the police to report the accident. If you must get out of your car, be careful of oncoming traffic and try to avoid going near the deer. If the deer is still alive, it could potentially hurt you. Don’t forget to call your insurance company to report the incident. If you’ve been injured after hitting the deer, contact a car accident lawyer for help dealing with insurance companies or getting Michigan no-fault benefits. Contacting a car accident lawyer will also be helpful if you were hit by another car who veered into you to avoid hitting a deer.
At Goodwin & Scieszka, we are aware that traveling in your vehicle, no matter what it is, can be dangerous. We are Metro Detroit personal injury lawyers who have helped our clients win various types of motor vehicle injury cases and for many years. Contact us today if you have been injured.