MSP: Keep an eye out for deer near roadside

As the snow slowly melts and vegetation becomes exposes in fields and on roadsides, deer are beginning to congregate near them to get an easy meal. As a result it is likely one or more could jump into traffic and be struck by a motorist.

Hitting a deer can do significant damage to a person’s vehicle and also can cause injury to the driver and passengers. In Michigan there is an average of 60,000 reports of car/deer accident, which equates to on occurring every eight minutes. Michigan State Police Alpena Post, Sgt. Stuart Sharp said in Michigan it is the law to report any accident, including those involving deer. He said don’t wait, do it as soon as possible.

“Report the accident forthright by stopping in the post or calling central dispatch,” Sharp said. “Maybe they will send a car, or maybe they will instruct you to make a report the next day, but it is the law to report the incident.”

Sharp said it is always important to pay close attention on what is going on around you when you drive and to be alert, especially in the spring when deer are taking advantage of the foliage near roads and the salt residue on them. He said the faster a person drives, the harder it is for them to avoid an accident if a deer moves into the right of way.

“Speed is a factor. It is often wise to slow down a bit,” Sharp said. “If a deer does come out, gently apply the break, don’t slam on them and don’t turn your wheel to swerve to avoid hitting them. Be cognizant of any vehicles behind you to avoid a possible collision involving them as well.”

Sharp said if an accident occurs, be sure everyone in the vehicle is unharmed and then call the police. He said take time to examine your vehicle before you get in it and attempt to drive.

“Stop and inspect the car or truck to be sure that it is functioning properly,” Sharp said. “Make sure it isn’t leaking any fluids or that the tires aren’t losing air or deflating. Make sure you stay out of the way of oncoming traffic and don’t walk into the traffic. Carry on only after you contact law enforcement.”

For more information about deer/car crashes log onto www.michigan.gov/msp.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com.