Next week kicks off the Firearms Deer Hunting Season, but you don’t have to wait until then to spot a deer. Chances are, you’ve seen one or a few while driving. Experts say, almost
50 percent of deer/vehicle crashes occur in Michigan during the fall months. The high number of crashes involving deer has prompted AAA Michigan to issue a warning: “Don’t Veer For Deer.”
“The risk for deer related crashes increases in the fall, with the deer moving more and with firearms season starting on the 15th that increases the risk even more.”
Susan Hiltz, is the Public Affairs Director for AAA Michigan. She says 14 people were killed in deer crashes last year. In addition, she says 43 percent of all deer vehicle crashes took place in the fall. They’ve joined forces with the Michigan Deer Crash Coalition in an effort to increase awareness and help keep people safe on the roads. They’re campaign: “Don’t Veer For Deer”.
“If you see a deer, slow down, for one point. If you see one, there’s also another one nearby. And if a crash is unavoidable, you shouldn’t swerve. You should brake firmly and hold onto the steering wheel and bring your car to a controlled stop. And also, just common sense things, like staying sober, always wear your seatbelt.”
The deer population in our state is quite large… about 1.75 million, so there are plenty that can make their way to our roadways. Vehicle-deer crashes are also quite expensive, causing at least 130 million dollars in damage annually. In 2016 there were close to 47-thousand deer/vehicle crashes; Oakland County had the most, but Kent County came in second with 1481. Ottawa County was sixth on the list at just over 11-hundred.
“Quite a few deer related accidents happening in our state. So if we can bring that number down and everyone’s a little more careful and remember our slogan, don’t veer for deer, especially being more careful between dusk and dawn that might help everybody.”
Hiltz says you can find a video about deer-crash safety at Michigan deer-crash dot com and additional safety tips are also available at AAA.com.