Hunters not the only ones who should watch for deer

Michigan’s firearms deer season officially began Nov. 15 and hunters are searching for the elusive whitetail. It’s also the time of year motorists should also be on the lookout for deer.

“As hunters head into fields and forests deer will become more active – especially at dawn and dusk. It’s important for drivers to keep their eyes peeled for deer, which can dart out in front of cars without warning,” said Dyck Van Koevering, general counsel for IAM. “More than 1,100 people were injured in car crashes involving deer in 2017, making it more important than ever to remain vigilant.”

In 2017, 50,949 vehicle crashes involving deer were reported in Michigan, resulting in 1,112 injuries and 16 deaths. In 2016, 1,200 people were hurt and 14 people were killed in 46,870 car accidents.

“Remember, deer travel in groups, so if you see one near the side of the road there’s a good chance others are nearby,” Van Koevering said. “Deer can be easily startled, making it hard to predict which direction they’ll run and when, so it’s best to be prepared for anything.”

He recommends the following safety tips:

– Watch for deer, especially at dawn and dusk, when they are most active.

– 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 without warning.

– 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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