ESCANABA - Motorists are reminded that with fall, deer populations are on the move. This fall weather heightens the chance of a car/deer crash occurring.
In Michigan in 2009, there were 61,486 reported vehicle-deer crashes with 10 people killed. The 10 killed were all motorcyclist. About 80 percent of all car-deer crashes take place on two-lane roads between dusk and dawn. Vehicle-deer crashes are costly. In Michigan, vehicle-deer crashes cost at least $130 million per year; the average insurance claim is about $2,100 in damage, usually to the front of the vehicle, which often leaves it undriveable.
Last year more than 60,000 accidents in Michigan involved deer. Most often, you'll see a deer near dawn or dusk. Motorists are encouraged to look beyond the beam of their headlights for eyes of deer that may be near the path of your vehicle.
Trying to dodge a deer is not a good idea. Deer often move erratically and swerving may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. The best way to avoid a deer/car collision is to slow your car down, flash your headlights and/or blow your horn to try and scare the animal.
Deer travel together, if you see one, chances are others are coming so please proceed with caution.
Remember to heed deer crossing signs. If you do hit a deer make sure you report it to your local police or the sheriff's office.
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Gary Ballweg is sheriff of Delta Conty