Late Fall and Early Winter Riskiest Times of the Year for Deer-Car Collisions

If you’re going to live in Michigan, there are two things you should immediately learn: how to drive in snowy and icy weather conditions, and that you might have an encounter with a deer–at least that’s according to Sgt. Richard Hale of the Michigan State Police. In his 38 years with the police force, Sgt. Hale has seen his share of deer-related accidents.

Apparently, Ionia County is the most dangerous place in the Mid-Michigan area for deer-car accidents. That is, 51% of car accidents in that area involved a deer. To think of it another way, that means there was one deer crash for every 36 drivers. However, Clinton County is right behind with 39 licensed drivers for every car-deer crash. Luckily, for drivers in the Ingham County area, the chances we run into a deer are quite a bit lower, with only 13% of accidents involving a deer or one deer crash for every 178 licensed drivers.

According to Sgt. Hale, late fall and early winter are the worst times for deer-car crashes. Specifically, cornfields, which cover most of the land in Michigan, are a prime food source for deer. Sadly, Sgt. Hale recalls a recent car accident in which two women died while trying to swerve to avoid a deer in the path of their car. Sgt. Hale suggests that drivers not attempt to swerve to avoid deer, and also notes that not that many people are severely injured in deer-car crashes. In fact, approximately 18 percent of all reported 2009 crashes involved injuries or fatalities, while only about 2 percent of deer crashes resulted in injuries or fatalities.

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