October and November Dangerous Months for Deer/Vehicle Crashes

LANSING, Mich., Sept. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Two of the most dangerous months in Michigan for deer/vehicle crashes are October and November.  Vehicle/deer crashes can cause more than just damage to the vehicle.  The 55,867 crashes last year resulted in 1,277 injuries and 11 deaths.

According to the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center, there were 55,867 deer/vehicle crashes in 2010, down from the 61,486 crashes reported in 2009.  However, officials note that many crashes also go unreported, so actual crash numbers are much higher.

In 2010, Kent County once again topped the state's counties in the number of car-deer crashes with 1,976 crashes.  The remaining top nine were Oakland (1,836), Jackson (1,779), Calhoun (1,618), Lapeer (1,321), Montcalm (1,319), Genesee (1,295), Clinton (1,267), Sanilac (1,275) and Eaton (1,220).

All motorists should 'think deer' whenever they are behind the wheel, and drive defensively, as if a deer can appear at any moment, because they can!  

"It is important to stay in your lane and don't swerve when you see a deer.  Most injuries and deaths occur when motorists veer to avoid the deer," said Michigan Deer Crash Coalition Chair Lori Conarton, who represents the Insurance Institute of Michigan.  "And all motorists should remember to always fasten their safety belts. Safety belts often make the difference in surviving a serious crash."

The MDCC says motorists can help avoid dangerous encounters with deer by heeding the following tips:

  • Watch for deer especially at dawn and dusk.
  • 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, chances are more are nearby waiting to cross, too. When startled by an approaching vehicle, they can panic and dart out from any direction without warning.
  • Be alert all year long, especially on two-lane roads. Watch for deer warning signs. They are placed at known deer-crossing areas and serve as a first alert that deer may be near.
  • Slow down when traveling through deer-population areas.

In 2010, eight of the 11 fatal deer crashes involved motorcyclists.  That is why the Michigan Deer Crash Coalition has developed safety tips for motorcyclists.

Motorcyclists should:

  • Be alert for deer whenever they ride.  Deer-vehicle crashes happen in urban, suburban and rural areas.
  • Slow down. Decreasing speed gives a motorcyclist more time to spot an animal and react.
  • Cover the brakes to reduce reaction time.
  • Use high beam headlights and additional driving light when possible.
  • If riding in a group, spread out riders in a staggered formation. If one rider hits a deer, this will lessen the chance that other riders will be involved.
  • Wear protective gear at all times.

Number of Deer Crashes by County in Michigan





2009

        2010




Alcona

441

395

Alger

119

109

Allegan

1,118

1,022

Alpena

388

356

Antrim

474

463

Arenac

545

388

Baraga

208

223

Barry

1,116

931

Bay

503

460

Benzie

300

263

Berrien

918

898

Branch

1,004

938

Calhoun

1,659

1,618

Cass

731

648

Charlevoix

539

552

Cheboygan

432

437

Chippewa

385

347

Clare

616

522

Clinton

1,428

1,267

Crawford

244

235

Delta

806

702

Dickinson

558

540

Eaton

1,384

1,220

Emmet

480

477

Genesee

1,420

1,259

Gladwin

564

478

Gogebic

73

102

Grand Traverse

581

543

Gratiot

1,160

1,067

Hillsdale

1,038

1,005

Houghton

182

228

Huron

1,299

1,144

Ingham

1,076

938

Ionia

1,180

1,010

Iosco

393

306

Iron

387

402

Isabella

1,292

1,098

Jackson

1,877

1,779

Kalamazoo

1,162

1,172

Kalkaska

255

180

Kent

2,164

1,976

Keweenaw

40

29

Lake

260

214

Lapeer

1,455

1,321

Leelanau

254

273

Lenawee

781

746

Livingston

1,075

870

Luce

99

92

Mackinac

324

265

Macomb

648

627

Manistee

480

376

Marquette

393

360

Mason

764

710

Mecosta

1,152

929

Menominee

654

587

Midland

1,059

923

Missaukee

376

413

Monroe

357

352

Montcalm

1,641

1,319

Montmorency

207

155

Muskegon

745

605

Newaygo

808

690

Oakland

1,947

1,836

Oceana

527

468

Ogemaw

565

461

Ontonagon

209

216

Osceola

703

587

Oscoda

154

118

Otsego

182

180

Ottawa

1,300

1,152

Presque Isle

386

363

Roscommon

376

312

Saginaw

1,175

1,073

St. Clair

885

809

St. Joseph

678

590

Sanilac

1,132

1,275

Schoolcraft

253

206

Shiawassee

1,075

971

Tuscola

1,032

1,060

Van Buren

772

673

Washtenaw

1,202

1,174

Wayne

446

394

Wexford

416

395




TOTAL

61,486

55,867







This chart is provided by Michigan State Police.



The MDCC – a broad affiliation of groups representing law enforcement, traffic safety, insurance, natural resources, higher education and strategic regional planning in the public and private sectors – seeks to increase awareness of the problem among the driving public and reduce the number of deaths and injuries occurring each year on state roads.  Members are: AAA Michigan * Insurance Institute of Michigan * Michigan Department of Natural Resources * Michigan Department of State * Michigan Department of Transportation * Michigan Sheriffs' Association * Office of Highway Safety Planning * SEMCOG (Southeast Michigan Council of Governments * State Farm Insurance and Traffic Improvement Association.  For more information, visit the coalition's website, www.michigandeercrash.org and join us on Facebook.

SOURCE Michigan Deer Crash Coalition



RELATED LINKS
http://www.michigandeercrash.org

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