As fall sets in, police are expecting the next few weeks to see more deer crashes.
Deadly deer crashes have gone up a whopping 80% in Michigan between 2014 and 2015, and state police say there are a number of possible contributing factors.
However, they say some of those factors are things you can control.
“I was actually driving my kids when we were all going to Baldwin one day from Luther to go eat, and all of a sudden there was like 20 deer that just came in the road,” says Jessie Seeman, a resident of Luther.
Close encounters with deer is something most Michigan drivers can say they’re familiar with.
“Well of course the only thing you’re going to do is panic…because there was a lot, and no matter which way you went you were hitting one or two,” Jessie explains.
According to data compiled by Michigan State Police, six people died in six deer-related crashes in 2014.
In 2015, that number climbed to 11 people who died in 10 deer-related crashes.
“Every day we take several calls for deer-car crashes, especially this time of year,” says MSP Sergeant, Steve Arendt. “They’re definitely on the increase in the fall.”
A higher deer population and distracted driving may be contributing factors in the rise in statistics for deer crash deaths, according to Michigan State Police.
“Anytime you look at your phone or take your eyes off the road for even a few seconds you’ve already traveled several hundred feet and you’re not going to see anything that might pop up in front of you,” Sgt. Arendt explains. “When you see a deer, just slow down. Hit the brakes. Don’t try to swerve. Because if you do swerve, you’re going to cause more problems for yourself, probably, than just hitting the deer.”
He says most deer crashes happen in the early morning or late at night, meaning drivers need to be sure to drive slowly and always be on alert to avoid possible disaster.
“I guess I’d just learn how to watch for them better,” Jessie says. “I don’t want to hit anymore ever, especially really bad to where it totals your car, because I’ve probably totaled three cars hitting deer.”
For the full 2014 Michigan State Police report, click .
For the full 2015 Michigan State Police report, click .