Some 50,000 collisions between deer and various types of vehicles take place every year throughout the Michigan. According to an insurance company that studied the issue, about 80 percent of these accidents take place on smaller, two-lane roads and occur at night. The study also showed that most of the collisions occurred during the spring and fall, the months that deer are more active. In one county alone, 27 such collisions were reported in the month of October. More accidents occurred there in November, with two motorists reporting collisions with other animals, one a bear and the other a wolf.
According to a member of the Michigan State Police, the increase in accidents is itself related to the increase in hunting activity during those same months. Unfortunately, many animals who are fleeing from the hunters become prey to traffic on the roadways. The problem seems to be getting worse, with some 1,300 more accidents over the previous year reported in 2015. The county with the highest number of deer collisions was Oakland, which is located between the cities of Detroit and Flint.
The threat to humans posed by deer is illustrated by the number of deaths and injuries. In 2015, collisions with animals claimed the lives of 11 people, five of whom were riding motorcycles. More than 1,100 other motorists suffered varying degrees of injury in the same type of accidents. However, such collisions often involve only minimal damage to the vehicle and may not even be reported to local authorities. The human deaths and injuries that do occur normally result from the motorist losing control when trying to avoid the animal.
Motorists are advised to be alert for deer, especially around dusk and dawn and during the months of October through December. Furthermore, deer often travel in groups but may walk in single file, which means that the sighting of one animal should be a warning of more to follow. Drivers who find themselves unable to avoid animals are advised to brake firmly and to avoid swerving. Although a deer would seem to be badly mismatched against an automobile or truck, collisions with the animals cost motorists traveling in Michigan at least $130 million every year.
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