October through December is the time of year when vehicle-deer crashes are most common, with 22,545 crashes in Michigan in 2018.
Oakland (1,851) and Genesee (1,136) counties are two of the top counties for this type of incident.
F/Lt. David Kaiser of the Michigan State Police said dawn and dusk are when these accidents happen most. He said never to veer for a deer.
“Most people lose control and crash into something else like a tree or another vehicle,” Kaiser said.
In 2018, police responded to 53,464 vehicle-deer crashes in Michigan. Approximately 1,335 people were injured and 14 were killed.
The October-December time span accounted for 42 percent of all vehicle deer crashes in 2018, with November having the highest number.
The majority of these crashes occurred between 7-7:59 a.m., and the most common type of vehicle involved are passenger cars, SUVs and vans.
Linden Police Chief Scott Sutter said his department responds to several deer-vehicle incidents a year.
“Keep an eye for more. If a deer crosses in front of you there is a likelihood that more will follow,” he said. “Deer are most active at dusk and dawn. Slow down and stay alert. Brake and don’t swerve. If you see a deer stay calm and brake firmly. Do not swerve and stay in your lane.”
It is illegal to claim a deer carcass without a permit. If you do take the carcass, you must report the accident to the authorities. You can ask a law enforcement officer for a permit to keep a deer carcass. You can eat the meat yourself, or you can donate the meat to charity.
Source: Michigan Department of State Police, Office of Highway Safety Planning
Some tips from the MSP to avoid a crash:
• 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 following.
• Be alert for deer, especially at dawn and dusk. If you see one, slow down.
• Don’t rely on gimmicks like flashing your high-beam headlights or honking your horn to deter deer.
If a crash is unavoidable:
• 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.