The Michigan Deer Crash Coalition says Kent County was the number one county for deer accidents in 2011 at around 1,700 followed by Jackson County at around 1,500.
In all of Michigan last year, there were more than 53,000 vehicle deer crashes. That’s down from more than 56,000 in 2010. We talked to a driving school instructor who had some tips on driving during an active deer season.
“It`s kind of multiple facets that you`re always looking for, it`s not, there`s the deer, don`t swerve the car,” says Kevin Raymond of the Main Street Driving School in Forest Hills. “Before we see the deer, we need to understand what our surroundings.”
When he’s instructing students on how to drive with deer on the move, he says being aware and getting rid of distractions is key. Raymond says you need to see the deer before they cross the road. “We need to take and delete all those distractions we can before driving, silencing the phones, removing things off of the dashboard and being totally focused, “ says Raymond. “Especially this time of year.”
The veteran driving instructor says you can brake and stop for deer on certain roads. He says it’s important to be able to look behind you in that case to make sure somebody has enough stopping distance so they don’t rear-end you. “It`s very clear I can brake rather quickly prior to hitting the deer, before the deer hits the car . So, the biggest thing is now that I know nobody is behind me, I can brake a little bit harder, now. In a different scenario, put someone behind me, I`m not going to be able to brake as hard because the likelihood of the driver behind me reacting, quick enough to not rear-end me is not very good. In that situation, I would brake slow and gradual, keeping an eye on the car behind me.”
Raymond demonstrated how to pull off to the side of the road safely, with the main objective being to maintain control. “We want to control the car and gradually bring the car back onto the road, says Raymond. “Very still with the hands, you can easily lose control of the car.”
He says the main factor is not to panic. “They get into that panic mode where they feel as though they can turn the wheel and have a better chance of avoiding the deer rather if they just continue to go straight and break and slow down,” says Raymond..
The Michigan Deer Crash Coalition reports that eight people were killed in car/deer crashes last year while more than 1,400 were injured.