Michigan drivers are no strangers to wildlife on the highways – deer, opossums, coyotes and even dogs and cats can cause serious car accidents involving damage to vehicles and injury to passengers. If a deer suddenly darts onto a highway congested with traffic, a collision may be unavoidable. But there are some steps you can take to avoid a collision and protect yourself and your family.
An accident involving a deer can occur at any time, but Michigan’s 2 million deer are most active in the fall and spring. The months of October through January are known as deer mating season and deer are moving during this period.
According to Michigan state police, motorists were involved in 46,469 collisions with animals in 2014. The collisions resulted in the death of 5 motorists, 859 injuries, and damage to 45,600 cars.
Michigan motorists were involved in 330 accidents caused by trying to avoid hitting a deer, including 1 fatal accident and 65 accidents resulting in injuries.
In the event you find yourself in an unavoidable situation, it is important to remember not to swerve. Swerving puts you and other drivers in danger. Swerving out of your lane could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, hit other vehicles or strike the animal in a less-than-desirable area on your vehicle. Although it may be frightening, hitting a large animal head-on can help you avoid a roll-over or collision with another vehicle.
Although deer, elk and large animals can cause major accidents, domestic animals can also cause serious collisions. Especially in residential neighborhoods, it is important that you are attentive and try to avoid collisions with dogs and cats.
Smaller animals may be hard to see, but could still cause considerable damage to your vehicle, particularly if you swerve to avoid them. Just as with larger wildlife, it is important to remain in your lane. Swerving to avoid a crash may risk a collision with pedestrians as well as other vehicles.
Have you hit an animal? Don’t panic. There are some simple steps to take to ensure you and your fellow drivers are safe. First, pull to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers that there has been an accident.
Second, make sure that you contact local authorities to alert them to the accident.
Lastly, by law, you need to stay at the scene of the accident until authorities arrive. Document any damages to your vehicle and report the time and area that the accident occurred.
If another driver swerves to avoid hitting a deer or other wildlife and causes a car accident that injures you, you may have a claim for compensation.
If you have been involved in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, speak with an attorney at Michigan’s most trusted law firm, Goodman Acker P.C. Our legal team strives to ensure each client has the best possible representation. Contact a Detroit car accident lawyer today to learn more.
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