12 Driving Safety Tips to Prevent Deer Car Accidents from Michigan Auto Law

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Personal injury lawyer Steven Gursten gives advice on what to do if hitting a deer is inevitable and how to avoid deer vehicle collisions

Avoiding deer car accidents

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by rubey_kay

The worst thing you can ever do is swerve your car or slam on your car brakes to avoid a deer. It’s far better to kill the deer than it is to seriously kill yourself or someone else by veering into traffic, slamming into a tree or getting rear-ended.

Deer season is here, which means deer running into highways and onto roads — and causing deer car accidents, says Steven M. Gursten, personal injury lawyer and head of Michigan Auto Law.

According to the Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, Michigan has more than 60,000 deer-car accidents every year. In 2010, nearly 1,500 people were injured and 11 people were killed as a result of cars colliding with deer. Kent County, which includes Grand Rapids, had 1,976 deer car collisions, the most in the entire state. Oakland County came in second with 1,836 deer car accidents.

"As a Michigan personal injury lawyer, I’ve seen first-hand the devastating consequences of deer-car accidents. Many people are not prepared and have no idea what to do should a deer run in front of their vehicles," Gursten said.

"The worst thing you can ever do is swerve your car or slam on your brakes to avoid a deer. It’s far better to kill the deer than it is to seriously kill yourself or someone else by veering into oncoming traffic, slamming into a tree or getting rear-ended," he added.

Below is advice from the personal injury lawyers at Michigan Auto Law to help protect and prepare drivers in case of an auto accident with a deer.

If a deer car collision is unavoidable:

1. Fasten your seat belt. As always, safety belts are one of the best defenses a driver can have in case of a car crash or a run in with a deer.

2. Slow down. Reduce your speed and hold onto the steering wheel with both hands.

3. Don't swerve. Swerving could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.

4. Quickly pull off the road if possible. Turn on your emergency flashers, and be cautious of other traffic.

5. Report the deer car crash. Call the to the nearest police agency and your insurance company.

To prevent a deer car collision:

6. Never ever drink and drive or drive distracted.

7. Stay aware and awake.

8. Pay close attention to signs that are placed at deer crossing areas and slow down in these areas.

9. Be especially alert in the fall for deer, when deer car crashes are at their highest.

10. Be especially alert at dawn and dusk. If you see a deer, slow down. Deer car accidents peak between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Fatal crashes peak between 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. to midnight, according to the Michigan Traffic Crash Facts.

11. Look for more than one deer. Deer are herd animals and they usually travel in a single file line. If you see one cross the road, there are probably more waiting.

12. Don’t rely on gimmicks. Gimmicks, flashing your high-beam headlights or honking your horn will not protect you from a deer car accident.

"A typical whitetail deer in Michigan weighs around 200 pounds. And a typical car weighs more than 3,000 pounds. In a contest between a car and a deer, the car will overcome," Gursten said. "Please, as they say, don't veer for deer."

Gursten frequently writes and speaks about avoiding car accidents and drivers safety, and he is available for comment.

About Steven M. Gursten: Steven M. Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top personal injury lawyers handling serious auto negligence lawsuits and truck accident cases. He is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and holds leadership in several legal organizations helping auto accident lawyers around the nation. Gursten received the top-reported auto accident or truck accident jury verdict and settlement in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to published reports from Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

About Michigan Auto Law: Michigan Auto Law is a third-generation law firm with 18 lawyers exclusively handling automobile accident and No-Fault insurance litigation throughout the state. The firm has offices in Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights, Detroit, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids. For more information or to speak with one of our Michigan personal injury lawyers, call (800) 777-0028.


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