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Car-deer accidents down in Washtenaw County, Michigan

It is that time of year again where drivers throughout Michigan need to be especially prudent to avoid getting into a car accident with a deer. Luckily, it does appear as though the number of cars colliding with deer is decreasing in both Washtenaw County and Michigan state as a whole, which means we could see fewer dangerous car accidents and injuries this fall.

According to a report released by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, last year there were 53,592 instances of deer-auto collisions compared to 55,867 in 2010. In Washtenaw County, which is home to about 10 percent of the state's deer-auto collisions, there were 1,026 such accidents in 2011 compared to 1,174 in 2010.

Car-deer accidents also declined in southeastern Michigan from 2010 to 2011.

While it would be nice to say that these accidents are down because drivers are being more diligent behind the wheel, it might be more due to a shrinking deer population.

Even with the frequency of these accidents down somewhat, striking a deer is still a major risk on many of Michigan's roadways. In fact, there was a fatal car-deer accident in St. Clair County earlier this month.

Officials have warned drivers not to swerve to avoid a deer. It is reportedly safer to maintain control of the vehicle and remain on the course. When a crash is unavoidable, it is important to brake firmly and hold onto the wheel with both hands. Only after coming to a controlled stop should the driver steer the vehicle off of the road. This is because it is more dangerous to go off of the road at a high speed and strike a tree or another vehicle, or roll over, than it is to hit the deer.

Many car accidents involving deer may be one-car accidents, and it can thus be difficult to recover financial damages. However, some of these accidents do involve another negligent driver or a party who contributed to the accident. Those involved in car accidents are often wise to seek legal counsel to learn whether it is possible to pursue compensation for damages.

Source: AnnArbor.com, "Car-deer accident numbers down in Washtenaw County as carcass debate continues," John Counts, Oct. 11, 2012

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