Key Points in This Article:
- Michigan State Police say approximately 53,000 car-deer accidents are reported each year across the state, 80 percent of which occur between dusk and dawn, and in the months of October and November.
- The city of Portage in Kalamazoo County was home to the most deer-vehicle accidents reported to police in 2018 and accounted for 12% of all vehicle accidents in the city.
- Sometimes fatal crashes can occur when motorists swerve to avoid a deer, and they instead hit a vehicle or a fixed object. Other drivers who are distracted or following too closely may also crash into a stopped or slowed car or truck caught up in a crash with deer causing serious injuries to others.
- To avoid a collision, drivers should never swerve to miss a deer ahead of them and instead, stay alert and keep their hands on the wheel, and brake firmly to bring their vehicle to a controlled stop.
List of 20 Michigan Communities with The Most Deer-Vehicle Crashes
Across Michigan, deer-vehicle crashes injured more than 1,300 people and killed 14 others last year while also responsible for one of every six traffic accidents. And according to Michigan State Police (MSP), one-third of those deer crashes occurred in October and November.
To help raise awareness and support safe driving during the heavy deer crossing season, our team of motor vehicle accident injury attorneys reviewed the top 20 communities with the highest amount of deer crashes reported last year using the Michigan Traffic Crash Facts website.
- Portage, Kalamazoo County: 184
12% of all 1,554 vehicle accidents in the city
13% of all 1,335 vehicle accidents in the city
- Union Township, Isabella County: 18
33% of all 551 vehicle accidents in the township
- Bear Creek Township, Emmet County: 170
37% of all 461 vehicle accidents in the township
- Blackman Township, Jackson County: 161
17% of all 947 vehicle accidents in the township
- Pine River Township, Gratiot County: 159
53% of all 301 vehicle accidents in the township
- Rochester Hills, Oakland County: 151
6% of all 2492 vehicle accidents in the city
- Grayling Township, Crawford County: 147
54% of all 270 vehicle accidents in the township
- Spring Arbor Township, Jackson County: 143
50% of all 284 vehicle accidents in the township
- Breitung Township, Dickinson County: 140
58% of all 240 vehicle accidents in the township
- Summit Township, Jackson County: 133
29% of all 459 vehicle accidents in the township
- Scio Township, Washtenaw County: 132
21% of all 640 vehicle accidents in the township
- Deerfield Township, Isabella County: 131
67% of all 196 vehicle accidents in the township
- Meridian Township, Ingham County: 129
17% of all 777 vehicle accidents in the township
- Delta Township, Eaton County: 128
11% of all 1216 vehicle accidents in the township
- Verona Township, Huron County: 128
75% of all 170 vehicle accidents in the township
- DeWitt Township, Clinton County: 127
30% of all 427 vehicle accidents in the township
- Manistee Township, Manistee County: 123
65% of all 189 vehicle accidents in the township
- Plainfield Township, Kent County: 121
11% of all 1086 vehicle accidents in the township
- Lapeer Township, Lapeer County: 120
50% of all 239 vehicle accidents in the township
Already in October 2019, two fatal car crashes, one including a motorcyclist, closed Michigan roads due to drivers who had collided with a deer.
- Ray Township in Macomb County: A 28-year-old dispatcher from the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office was killed in a car crash after a deer was thrown into the windshield of their vehicle which veered off the road and then struck a tree. The accident happened at North Avenue and 31 Mile Road. Police are unsure if seatbelts were a factor.
- I-75 in Ogemaw County: A 67-year-old motorcyclist died after his Harley-Davidson motorcycle struck a deer. MSP believe the man lost control on the freeway before being hit by an SUV while driving north on I-75 near mile marker 214 in Ogemaw County. The deceased was not wearing a helmet and did die on the scene.
Accidents Are Common After Swerving from Deer
Especially during this heightened time of year for encountering deer on the road, motorists should slow down and start scanning for deer ahead. Even if you see just one deer, remember that they tend to travel in groups and there could be more nearby, waiting to cross. Most deer are hit on back roads, between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., followed by 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., according to State Police data.
Here are some easy tips on how to avoid colliding with a deer this year:
- While driving, refrain from distractions such as your phone or drowsiness, and be on general alert for deer, especially at dawn and dusk.
- Flashing your high-beam headlights or honking a horn to deter deer will not work when trying to lessen the crash impact.
- Signs are placed at known deer crossing areas to alert you of the possible presence of deer.
- Stay aware, awake, and sober.
- Always wear a seat belt.
- Motorcyclists need to wear an approved helmet when riding.
- If you do see a deer, don’t swerve.
Chain reaction type crashes can occur when motorists suddenly swerve or brake to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle, a fixed object and lose control. Also, other drivers who are not paying attention or following too closely can be found responsible for rear-ending stopped or slowed vehicles that just collided with a deer. If a chain reaction type of crash occurs and others become injured, call 911 and report any injuries and immediate dangers.
Once you have received help, and before you excuse yourself from the scene, look for any damage such as loose parts and broken lights or evidence of a negligent driver. If your vehicle seems damaged or unsafe, if you are injured or you feel uneasy about driving, have your vehicle towed. Gather witness information and request a ride home or to a hospital to be treated for any possible injuries.
Seek Legal Help If Injured by A Negligent Driver
If you or someone you love was injured or tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident in Michigan, you or your family may be entitled to compensation and survivors’ loss benefits to help with medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Call The Lee Steinberg Law Firm today for a FREE consultation with one of our experienced Michigan auto accident attorneys: 1-800-LEE-FREE.