The fall is almost over, and the deer season is upon us. With an abnormal increase in the deer population, the chances of hitting a deer in Michigan are among the highest in the US. Statistics ranks us fourth on the deer collision red alert list, with only Montana, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota being deadlier.
Why is the fall the most dangerous deer collision time of the year in Michigan?
Naturally, deer rut (mate) just before winter and get their fawn late in spring and early summer. With winter fast approaching, breeding hormones pump through the herds sending a 2 million strong Michigan deer population into a breeding frenzy. Therefore, the animals move around carelessly, searching for mates, and the search may as well end up in front of your car in the middle of the highway.
That’s not all; the state manages the deer population through registered deer hunting. In 2020, Michigan issued a record number of hunting licenses to a formidable hunting army of 616,000 deer hunters. However, the figures declined by 4% in 2021, with fewer COVID-19 restrictions giving people a chance to engage in other activities.
Deer hunting flashes out these lovely animals from their uninterrupted forest habitats, increasing the chances of an escaping fawn, buck, or doe finding itself in the middle of the highway. Additionally, with over half a million hunting parties driving through deer-infested areas, there is a high chance that some will run into a deer on a less-known dirt road.
There had been only 3500 deer-vehicle collisions reported by August 2021, and figures are projected to hit over 40000 by the end of the year. Fortunately, these accidents carry a low human fatality rate of 0.4%, with most fatal cases involving motorcycles.
With the least travel restrictions in 2021, the number of deer collisions in the United States is expected to rise as more vehicles are on the roads.
How to avoid hitting a deer in Michigan
Be on the alert for deer herds
Deer form small herds during the rutting season as they migrate across the state. Therefore, if you spot a lone ranger by the roadside, the chances are that its mates are nearby.
Avoid the roads during the deer peak hours
Deer are active at dawn and dusk, and that is when most collisions have been reported. Therefore, it is wise to stay off the road at this time of the day or drive with absolute caution.
Blue is the deer color
Research indicates that deer perceive the blue color best and can spot a blue vehicle approaching and move away. Other colors (especially black and white) are less perceived.
Can my car insurance cover deer collisions?
Indeed! Comprehensive coverage covers all car repairs arising from deer collisions as the Michigan Insurance Law considers these accidents eligible for comprehensive claims. The no-fault policy also includes a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim covering all injuries resulting from the accident. However, claim benefits depend on the insurance coverage you have chosen, with only unlimited PIP coverage covering medical bills.
If a deer collision leads to an accident with another vehicle or involves a passenger or a pedestrian, they too may be covered under the PIP protection. Additionally, you may get the trophy animal by applying for a salvage permit through DNR.
Don’t let the deer stop you from venturing outdoors
Enjoy the fall colors with your family and friends by venturing into the woods. If you run into a deer, brake firmly without swerving, pull off the road, and call 911. If the collision causes damages, feel free to reach out to an expert injury attorney at Hakim Law on 855-558-8250 and get your insurance needs handled professionally.