From the Kent County Sheriff Department
It’s deer season, which means they will be on the move more than ever.
There were over 49,000 car deer accidents in Michigan last year.
Here are some tips to help you avoid a crash.
The two most important ways to avoid a deer-vehicle collision are: slow down and SLOW DOWN.
If you are driving through an area known for high deer populations, slow down and observe the speed limit. The more conservative you are with your speed, the more time you will have to brake if an animal darts into your path.
Always wear a seatbelt. The most severe injuries in deer-vehicle collisions usually result from failure to use a seatbelt.
Watch for the shine of eyes along the roadside and immediately begin to slow.
Use your high beams whenever the road is free of oncoming traffic. This will increase your visibility and give you more time to react.
Deer can become mesmerized by steady, bright lights so if you see one frozen on the road, slow down and flash your lights. Some experts recommend one long blast of the horn to scare them out of the road, as well.
Pay close attention to caution signs indicating deer. These signs are specifically placed in high traffic areas, where road crossings are frequent.
If you’re on a multi-lane road, drive in the center lane to give as much space to grazing deer as possible.
Never swerve to avoid a deer in the road. Swerving can confuse the deer on where to run. Swerving can also cause a head-on collision with oncoming vehicles, take you off the roadway into a tree or a ditch, and greatly increase the chances of serious injuries.
Deer are unpredictable creatures, and one that is calmly standing by the side of the road may suddenly leap into the roadway without warning. Slowing down when you spot a deer is the best way to avoid a collision. However, if one does move into your path, maintain control and do your best to brake and give the deer time to get out of your way.
Don’t rely on hood whistles or other devices designed to scare off deer. These have not been proven to work.