with poll: Car-deer crashes up in Scio Township, down in Southeast Michigan
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Royalty-free image collection
The township just west of Ann Arbor recorded 153 vehicle-deer crashes in 2010, compared with 119 the year before, according to data released recently by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.
Statewide, the number of car-deer crashes dropped 9 percent to 55,867 from 61,486. The number of vehicle-deer crashes also dropped in Washtenaw County from 1,202 in 2009 to 1,174 in 2010, a 2 percent decline, and in southeast Michigan, which had 6,560 crashes in 2009 compared with 6,062 in 2010, a drop of about 8 percent.
Kajal Patel, SEMCOG transportation engineer, said there’s no clear reason for why the number went up in Scio Township. “Deer crashes are very random,” she said.
SEMCOG said no one died last year in car-deer collisions, but there were 11 fatalities involving deer, including 8 motorcycle wrecks.
The SEMCOG report notes that the number of car-deer crashes in general has grown in recent years because of more development in rural areas and a growing deer population.
The deer herd in southeast Michigan is 10 times larger now than it was in 1970 and 4 times larger across the state, SEMCOG said.
Oakland County had the most car-vehicle collisions in 2010 among the 7-county SEMCOG region with 1,836.
Michigan State Police note that while deer are most active in fall and spring, car-deer crashes occur all year. State police offer these tips for drivers:
- Deer are herd animals and frequently travel in single file. If you see one deer cross the road, chances are there are more waiting.
- Be alert for deer, especially at dawn and dusk. If you see one, slow down.
- Don't rely on gimmicks, flashing your high-beam headlights or honking your horn to deter deer.
If a crash is unavoidable:
- Don't swerve. Brake firmly, hold onto the steering wheel and bring your vehicle to a controlled stop.
- Pull off the road, turn on your emergency flashers and be cautious of other traffic if you leave your vehicle.
- Report the crash to the nearest police agency and your insurance company.
More information about car-deer crashes is available on the SEMCOG website.