Safety tips for avoiding car-deer crashes
As deer start to get antsy with the “rut” approaching, they begin moving a lot during low-light times.
Their movement during the early morning hours or into the evening leads to inevitable car-deer accidents.
With that in mind, I want to provide some tips for traveling safe during this time of year when we see the highest number of car-deer accidents. The same tips can be used for accidents that may involve other animals like bears, coyotes, raccoons, or any other animal a driver may encounter. The most important part of these accidents is they need to be reported to the local dispatch immediately after they occur.
When an animal appears on a roadway, you may only have a brief moment to react, if you have time at all.
The most serious crashes occur when motorists swerve to avoid an animal, leading to them possibly hitting another vehicle or a fixed object, or causing their vehicle to roll over.
Yes, hitting the animal is going to cause damage to your vehicle, but, by swerving to avoid them, you are at a much higher risk of injury.
Tips to avoid a car-animal crash:
∫ Be aware of your surroundings; stay awake and sober.
∫ Avoid additional distractions in your car.
∫ Be alert for animals, especially at dawn and dusk. Almost 80 percent of all car-deer crashes occur on two-lane roads between dawn and dusk.
∫ Do not rely on gimmicks like flashing your high-beam headlights or honking your horn to deter an animal.
Lately, several people do not realize you should report a car-animal accident as soon as possible after the accident takes place.
If the vehicle is disabled, your emergency dispatcher will be able to get an officer to you to help you with the report. If your vehicle is drivable, you should contact the emergency dispatcher and report the accident immediately, so they can place it on the log.
Then the driver must contact local law enforcement with the damaged vehicle the same day or on the next business day to make a formal accident complaint for insurance purposes.
Law enforcement is not able to take a report over the phone and must see the damaged vehicle.
Ashley Simpson is a Community Service Trooper for the MSP Alpena Post. If you have a question for Trooper Simpson, you can email her at email@example.com or mail them to Ask A Trooper, Michigan State Police – Alpena Post, 3283 W. Washington Ave., Alpena, Mich., 49707.