Tips for Motorists: Navigating Common Deer Collisions in Upper Michigan

No injuries were reported in a vehicle-deer accident this morning in Ontonagon County. At 6:30am, Alvin Loukka of Bruce Crossing was traveling west on East One Mile Road when a deer unexpectedly darted in front of his vehicle. Loukka was unable to avoid striking the animal resulting in extensive damage to his automobile.

Nearly 2 million deer wander through Michigan’s forests and fields. Recent data from State Farm Insurance, the largest car insurer in the United States., reveals that over 1.8 million auto insurance claims were filed across the industry between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023, specifically related to animal collisions. Michigan holds the fourth position among the top 10 states where such collisions are most likely to occur.

Some tips for motorists 

Stay alert and aware:

  • Drive at safe speeds, remain sober and pay attention to your surroundings
  • Take note of deer crossing signs – they will indicate areas where deer often appear
  • Scan the roadside, especially near woodlots, fencerows, field edges, and water sources where deer feed
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop if deer are near the road
  • Remember that deer often follow each other in a single file, so if you see one, more are likely nearby
  • Use high-beam headlights and additional driving lights to help see in low-light conditions
  • Look for reflections in deer’s eyes and silhouettes on the shoulder of the road

If you encounter a deer:

  • Don’t veer, avoid swerving it can lead to more serious crashes
  • Brake firmly: Stay in your lane and bring your vehicle to a controlled stop
  • If a crash is unavoidable, use both breaks progressively and come to a quick stop

A collision with a large animal can be as destructive as one with another vehicle. By staying vigilant and following preventative measures, one can reduce the risks associated with deer-vehicle crashes in Michigan.

For more information on collision statistics and safety visit:

State Farm Data – Deer-Vehicle Crashes