Every year, deer-auto collisions cause over $1 billion in damage in the United States. Michigan is second only to Pennsylvania in deer-auto accidents. Chances of an accident are three times greater this time of year. Most accidents occur on roads we commonly drive on — rural roads where autos are traveling at 55 mph or more. You can’t control how deer behave on our roads, but you can control your own behavior and save yourself from getting injured or injuring someone else!
Deer travel the most between dusk and dawn, that’s when you really need to be watching for them. If you see a deer on the side of the road, slow down. Where there’s one, there are probably more. And, since it could be following a path used by other deer – watch that area next time you drive past it.
Swerving to miss a deer in the road is riskier than it sounds. The swerve response is more likely to occur with a surprised driver – that’s why it pays to be alert at all times. Someone like Mrs. Michael, who has cat-like reflexes and while driving 70 mph can spot a chipmunk three miles away, might be tempted to swerve. However, Mrs. Michael knows the safer option is to brake, blast the car horn, and keep going straight. Swerving could cause you to lose control and hit a tree or another auto. If this happens, you could injure someone, you might get sued, your “collision” coverage would respond to pay for the damages to your vehicle, then your insurance policy could be surcharged for an at-fault accident, and/or your loss-free discount could be removed. But if you hit the deer, it’s not considered an at-fault accident, and the damage to your auto would be covered under “comprehensive” coverage.
If you are injured in a deer-auto encounter, and if you haven’t opted out of Personal Injury Protection (PIP), it will pay for your auto accident medical costs. And if you don’t live through the accident, your family might be able to recover No-Fault survivor’s loss benefits. Please be careful so things don’t get this far out of hand!