There are a number of reasons why driving in Michigan can be dangerous. The downpours in spring and blizzards in winter make roadway travel treacherous for even drivers who consider themselves as safe or defensive. The abundance of wildlife in Michigan can prove hazardous as well. According to the Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, there were nearly 50,000 reported vehicle-deer crashes in the year 2012.
In fact, our Michigan auto accident lawyers at Buckfire & Buckfire are frequently called by clients who suffer injuries because they hit a deer while driving or were involved in a vehicle deer car accident. Contrary to what many believe, victims of these collisions do have legal rights and may be able to file a claim for no-fault benefits. Our car accident attorneys will determine whether or not you have a case and represent in your Michigan injury claim.
Michigan Deer Accident Statistics
The Office of Highway Safety Planning reports that there were 49,918 vehicle-deer crashes in the year 2012. In those accidents, 1,329 people were injured and eight were killed. The fatally injured victims included three motorcyclists, one car driver, two passengers, one small truck driver and one moped driver. Of the 49,119 vehicles involved in vehicle-deer collisions, 36,634 were passenger cars, 8,580 were pickups and 2,258 were minivans.
Where Vehicle-Deer Accidents Occur
There are deer living in and traveling through every county of Michigan. Even the county that had the fewest vehicle-deer accidents in the year 2012, the Upper Peninsula County of Gogebic, had over 100 accidents with 102. There were a number of counties where over 1,000 deer versus vehicle collisions occurred. For example, there were 1,683 deer-related accidents in Oakland County, 1,572 accidents in Kent County, 1,281 in Jackson County, 1,175 in Lapeer County, 1,082 in Huron County, 1,054 in Ingham County, 1,032 in Clinton County, 1,013 in Ottawa County and 1,000 in Eaton County.
Ways to Prevent Deer Collisions
Deer tend to live in forested areas near waterways. If you see a deer crossing sign along the roadway, you should use caution. Deer crossing signs are put up in areas where there are known deer habitats. Slow down and keep an eye out for wildlife.
Unfortunately, deer can cross the road anywhere, so simply using caution near their natural habitats is not enough. It is also useful to:
- Drive at a safe speed: When you are traveling at an unsafe speed, it will be difficult to slow down in time to avoid a collision. Your ability to take evasive action is directly related to the speed at which you are traveling.
- Stay attentive: You cannot avoid deer you can't see. Keep your eyes on the roadway and off your phone or any other in-vehicle distraction.
- Use caution at dawn and dusk: Deer tend to move the most between sunset to midnight and again around dawn.
- Drive defensively: If you are prepared to take evasive action, you will be more likely to avoid a collision. Drive so that you are able to stop or change lanes.
- Use extra caution at night: Use your high beams when possible because they will illuminate more of the roadway.
- Stay in your lane: When there are other vehicles on the roadway, it is not advisable to swerve. Brake firmly while staying in your lane. You do not want to risk turning into another vehicle.
- Honk your horn: Let the deer know you are coming.
Legal Rights After A Michigan Deer Car Accident
Deer accidents are often covered under comprehensive coverage on your insurance policy. If you have suffered an injury or if your vehicle sustained a significant amount of damage, it is advisable to call the police and file a report. If you have sustained a significant injury, it may be in your best interest to discuss your situation with a skilled Michigan car accident attorney. Your lawyer will make sure that fair compensation is offered for all of the losses you sustained in the crash. The experienced Michigan auto injury lawyers at Buckfire & Buckfire P.C. can help protect your rights and explore various avenues of compensation. Call our award winning law firm now at 1-800-606-1717 to find out how we can help you.