With more than 2 million active deer in Michigan, car vs. deer accidents have become a year round problem. Each year, there are nearly 50,000 reported vehicle-deer crashes according to the Michigan State Police. The number of deer-caused car accidents numbered over 47,000 in 2015 and has continued to rise each year, perhaps not surprisingly, over half occurred in the last three months of the year when deer were mating and running about fleeing from hunters.
Because many crash accidents go unreported – someone runs over a deer, or there is not enough damage to file a claim or report – the actual crash numbers are likely much higher. Unfortunately, though, there are plenty of situations when damage and injuries do occur. The crashes cause at least $130 million in damage annually.
Reasons for Bad Deer-Vehicle Crashes
The deer population has risen tremendously, in both urban and suburban settings, mostly due to changes in available habitats as well as hunting regulations. Also, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the lack of natural predators has the population growing out of control. It makes sense then, to know that nearly 75 percent of deer-vehicle crashes in Michigan occur on rural, two-lane unlit roads where the posted speed limit is 55 mph.
Even though you may be fully aware of the incredibly high deer population in Michigan – about 1.75 million! – you can be easily distracted in your vehicle so that you are not properly on the alert for deer while driving. Put the smartphone away and keep your eyes on the road.
Also, be especially alert at dawn and dusk. These are the busiest times of the day on the road and the deer are harder to see. A driver’s lethargy from a poor night of sleep or a long day can further complicate the problem.
The Best Way to Collide with a Deer
When deer do spring out of nowhere or appear in front of your car or in your peripheral vision, one of the first reactions is to veer. Do not veer for deer! Even if you think avoiding the deer is a possibility, your inability to check your surroundings quickly enough to adequately judge what’s happening in your vicinity could have you colliding with another car, a tree, driving off of the road, or otherwise. The most injuries and deaths from deer-vehicle accidents occur because of veering to avoid the deer, according to the Insurance Institute of Michigan.
If it seems like the crash with the deer is unavoidable, the safest ways to have the accident are to keep your hands on the steering wheel, slow down, and stay in your own lane.
Trust Your Personal Injury Attorney
The average insurance claim in car crashes caused by deer in Michigan is about $4,000, according to State Farm and Allstate. However, if you are involved in a car accident because of a deer, contacting your personal injury attorney before you reach out to your insurance agent is the smartest call to make to ensure that you receive the coverage and benefits you are owed. Contact David Femminineo today to discuss your case.