On average, 146 vehicle/deer crashes occur every day in Michigan. According to the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center, there were a total of 53,592 reported crashes in 2011, resulting in 1,464 injuries and eight deaths. In 2010, there were 55,867 crashes. Many crashes go unreported, so actual crash numbers are estimated to be much higher.
The Michigan Deer Crash Coalition (MDCC) says motorists can help avoid dangerous encounters with deer by following these tips:
– Watch for deer, especially at dawn and dusk.
– If you see one deer, approach cautiously. There may be more out of sight.
– Deer often travel single file, so if you see one cross a road, chances are more are nearby waiting to cross, too. When startled by an approaching vehicle, they can panic and dart out from any direction without warning.
– Be alert all year long, especially on two-lane roads. Watch for deer warning signs. They are placed at known deer-crossing areas and serve as a first alert that deer may be near.
– Slow down when traveling through areas heavily populated by deer.
“It’s important to understand that it’s safer to come to a controlled stop whenever a deer is in your path than to swerve and go off the road,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “Don’t veer for deer or swerve to avoid an animal because it can be more dangerous and even deadly.”
The MDCC is a broad affiliation of groups representing law enforcement, traffic safety, the insurance industry, natural resources, higher education, and strategic regional planning in the public and private sectors. The MDCC seeks to increase awareness of vehicle-deer crashes and reduce the number of deaths and injuries occurring each year on state roads. Members include the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Department of State, Michigan Sheriffs’ Association, the Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP), the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), AAA Michigan, the Insurance Institute of Michigan, State Farm Insurance, and the Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan (TIA).