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While the state's two million deer are most active in spring and fall, vehicle-deer crashes are a year-round problem. Each year, there are nearly 50,000 reported vehicle-deer crashes in Michigan. About 80 percent of these crashes occur on two-lane roads between dusk and dawn. The most serious crashes occur when motorists swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or a fixed object, or when their vehicle rolls over.
The OHSP has produced a brochure titled "Don't Veer for Deer," with helpful information about deer-vehicle crashes and how to avoid them.
Here are some tips 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 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.
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.
Remember to buckle up, as seat belts are motorists' best defense in the event of a crash.