Michigan played home to almost 2 million deer between 2016 and 2018. As sweet and docile as those creatures can be, they can create havoc on the roadways. And fall through winter are the worst times since the rutting (or mating) season occurs between September through November with most breeding occurring in October. Michigan drivers know to watch for the critters, especially alongside wooded or vegetated areas. But they can still spring out of nowhere and cause a potential catastrophe. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to avoid a Michigan car accident with a deer.
Schedule Your Drive Accordingly
Timing is everything when it comes to avoiding trouble with local wildlife. Deer are most active and alert around dawn and dusk, which are also the times of day that drivers are most often visually compromised. The glare from the sun rising and setting can cause even the most defensive driver to be caught unaware. So avoid it completely by either wearing the right vision and glare protection or avoiding driving during those times altogether. If you still have to drive at those times, slow down and pay extra attention.
Many deer congregate and dash out in the highways. If you happen to be driving on a multilane road, avoid the outer or innermost lanes. Instead, drive in the middle lane as long as traffic laws allow that. You’ll probably still see some deer dart out, but that will give you more time to react to the surprise, less chance for anyone to get injured in the process and more opportunity for the deer to make it across to safety without hurting themselves or damaging property.
Deer are pack animals, so where one’s spotted several more are likely to follow. If you see the eyes or any other part of the normally timid creature, be on the lookout for more. Slow down, pay attention, and pull over if necessary to let them pass. It’s always better to get to your destination a few minutes late than not at all.
There are specific road rules in the Midwest to survive driving during various seasons. Just like you should never turn your wheel hard on ice, you should also avoid swerving to get out of the way of darting deer. That may be the instinctual response, but it’s also the most likely way to lose control of your vehicle and run into the oncoming herd. Instead of cutting the wheel or swerving, simply brake. Stop your vehicle whenever possible and let the deer pass or dart back the way they came. They have less control of their reactions and they’re a lot more afraid of you.
Skip the Gadgets and Hit the Horn
Michigan is consistently in the top ten states for deer inhabitants, and the chances for collision were 1 in 80 in 2018 alone. Countless gadgets are on the market to help deter or scare deer away, but most of them are a waste of money. Many experts agree a long, hard push on the car horn works better than any store gadget or repellent spray. Of course, if you still need the help of a competent Michigan car accident attorney, we’re just a call away.