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IAM urges drivers to steer clear of deer

As the days get shorter and temperatures get cooler, the Insurance Alliance of Michigan (IAM) is warning drivers to be on the lookout for deer.

“Deer are more active in the fall, especially during dawn and dusk, so it’s important for drivers to keep their eyes peeled for deer,” said Tricia Kinley, executive director of the Insurance Alliance of Michigan. “In 2018, 1,200 people were injured in car crashes involving deer, making it more important than ever to remain vigilant.”

In 2018, 53,464 vehicle crashes involving deer were reported in Michigan, resulting in 1,200 injuries and 14 deaths. In 2017, 1,112 people were hurt, and 16 people were killed in 50,949 accidents.

The counties with the most reported vehicle crashes involving deer in 2018 were:

1) Oakland County (1,851)

2) Kent County (1,837)

3) Jackson County (1,537)

4) Lapeer County (1,275)

5) Ottawa County (1,267)

6) Allegan County (1,160)

7) Genesee County (1,136)

8) Calhoun County (1,104)

9) Clinton County (1,103)

10) Isabella County (1,094)

“It’s important to remember that deer travel in groups, so if you see one near the side of the road chances are good others are nearby,” Kinley said. “Deer can dart out in front of cars without warning and are easily startled, making it hard to predict which direction they’ll run and when, so it’s best to be prepared for anything.”

IAM recommends the following safety tips:

  • Watch for deer, especially at dawn and dusk, when they are most active. If you see one deer, approach cautiously, as there may be more out of sight.

  • Deer often travel single file, so if you see one cross a road it’s likely more are nearby waiting to cross. When startled by an approaching vehicle, deer can panic and dart out from any direction.

  • Slow down when traveling through deer-populated areas.

  • Always wear your seat belt.

  • If a crash with a deer is unavoidable, don’t swerve. Instead, brake firmly, hold onto the steering wheel with both hands, come to a controlled stop and steer your vehicle off the roadway.

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