Almost two-thirds of deer-vehicle crashes — 63% — occurred on county or local roads, while 21% are on state roads, 10% on U.S. routes and 5% are on interstates.
4. Deer accidents on interstates are most likely to result in human injury
About 5% of deer accidents on interstates result in injury compared to 3% on U.S. routes and 2% on all other roads.
5. U.S. 31 is the road with the most deer accidents
No surprise, the Michigan roads with the most deer accidents are interstates and U.S. routes that span hundreds of miles. The Michigan road that ranked No. 1 for 2016 deer accidents was U.S. 31, which roughly parallels the Lake Michigan coastline from the Indiana border to the Mackinac Bridge, a total of 357 miles. No. 2 is U.S. 127, which goes 214 miles up the middle of the Lower Peninsula, from the Ohio border, through Jackson, Lansing and Mount Pleasant to I-75 near Grayling.
6. November is the most-common month for deer accidents
November is the most-common month for deer accidents, and in 2016, the single day with the most accidents reported was Nov. 10 — five days before the start of deer-hunting season.
7. Deer accidents are most likely to occur between 6 and 8 a.m..
Michigan deer accidents are most likely to occur between 6 and 8 a.m., followed by 6 to 11 p.m., according to State Police data. The very peak hour: 7 to 8 a.m.
8. Only 2% of drivers involved in a deer crash were violating traffic laws
Only a handful of drivers involved in a deer crash were violating traffic laws at the time of the collision, according to the Michigan State Police’s 2016 report on traffic crashes. The most common violation: Speeding.
9. Safety tips
The Michigan Deer Crash Coalition recommends the following safety tips:
- Watch for deer, especially at dawn and dusk. They are most active then, especially during the fall mating season. In spring, deer will move from cover to find food, and back to cover. Often, deer will feed along road rights-of-way, where grass greens up first. If you see one deer, approach cautiously, as there may be more out of sight.
- Deer often travel single file, so if you see one cross a road, chances are more are nearby waiting to cross, too. When startled by an approaching vehicle, they can panic and dart out from any direction without warning.
- Be alert all year long, especially on two-lane roads. Watch for deer warning
- signs. They are placed at known deer-crossing areas and serve as a first alert that deer may be near.
- Slow down when traveling through deer-population areas.
- Always wear your seat belt.
- If a crash with a deer is imminent, don’t swerve, brake firmly, hold onto the steering wheel with both hands, come to a controlled stop and steer your vehicle well off the roadway