A Michigan woman died after her car was struck by a deer. According to the Detroit Free Press, forty-nine year old Susan Fries, of Ada Township died on the evening of November 20, 2017. Ms. Fries was not the only one involved in the deer car crash as a 23-year old driver, traveling in the opposite direction, hit the deer first. Due to this impact, the animal then flew through the air and broke through Fries’ windshield. The accident took place in Cascade Township, in western Michigan. The driver of the other vehicle was from Lowell, Michigan, and was not injured.
Fall and winter months are deer mating season, making the odds of being involved in a deer car crash much, much higher at this time of year than any other time. More specifically, according to the Detroit Free Press, mating season for deer is October through December, which can more than double a driver's chance of hitting a deer. According to data released by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (MOHSP), deer car accidents make up 13.9% of all car crashes in October and 19.1% of all car crashes in November. For the other 9 months of the year, deer car crashes only make up between 4% and 10% of all car crashes. In 2016, 42.6% of deer-related car collisions occurred between October and December. The majority (57%) of deer-related car crashes occur at nighttime on unlit roads. According to Mlive, 75% of deer-related motor vehicle accidents that occurred in 2015 happened on a country road where the posted speed limit is 55 MPH. The MOHSP also found that Oakland County had the most deer car crashes by far in the state of Michigan in 2016, with Lapeer and Jackson Counties coming in second.
Due to the large number of deer car accidents, according to Slate, white-tailed deer could be considered the deadliest animals in North America, causing about 1.25 million car accidents and resulting in 150 fatalities. There are now 30 million deer in America, nearly 100 times more than there were in the early 1900s. In Michigan alone, there are there 1.75 million deer according to Mlive!
While deer jumping out into the road causes the initial car accident, deer car accidents can be more dangerous because there can be a ripple effect. Drivers passing by often take their eyes off the road to look at the car accident, the deer, or other creatures such as vultures or coyotes who have joined the scene, causing them to become distracted from the road and potentially risk becoming involved in a car crash themselves. Lori Conarton, chairwoman of the Michigan Deer Crash Coalition, told Mlive that, “vehicle-deer crashes in Michigan are expensive, causing at least $130 million in damage annually." The Michigan State Police provide the following tips for avoiding deer motor vehicle accidents, as well as what to do should you find yourself involved in such a car crash.
Deer car crashes are unpredictable, and usually happen in a split-second, leaving little time for the driver to react. While deer car crashes are likely something that we will never be able to avoid completely, following these tips may help keep drivers safer. Drivers can’t predict when a deer car accident will happen, but by being mindful of where they are driving, how well lit the road is, and what time of year it is, drivers can be more prepared in the instance of a deer car collison.
While deer accidents may be more prevalent during fall and winter months, the truth is that car collisions can happen anytime of year. If you are involved in an automobile accident in which you have been hit by or have stuck an animal such as a deer, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Let us handle the legal matters while you focus on recovering from your injuries.