Don't veer for deer: Police urge drivers to be extra cautious on roads

'You want to do something that is most survivable'
Posted at 10:31 PM, Nov 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 23:16:02-04

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ) — It's that time of year where drivers will notice more deer darting into the roadway.

According to statistics, Oakland County leads the state in most deer-involved crashes with 1,853 reported in 2021.

Rochester Hills is one of those areas where deer-related crashes are frequent. A sign sits on Rochester Road to warn drivers.

Oakland County in general is very populated while also having a lot of rural areas where deer thrive. That can be problematic for drivers.

"I'll slow down as best as possible but if i have to, hit it," Eric Alexander said hesitantly. "Because it's better to hit it than have your kids swerve off into a ditch."

Video from Michigan State Police shows just how fast it can happen.

"Instant panic, you see it and you're like, oh I can stop, but there's always more than one," Alexander said.

Lapeer County trails not too far behind Oakland with 1,355 deer-related crashes reported. Washtenaw and St. Clair counties both reported just over 1,000.

"Right now, we are in the peak of the Midwest season called "The Rut," so deer are super active and drivers need to be aware," Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said.

Bouchard says if a deer darts in front of you, try to slow down, but do not veer.

"You want to do something that is most survivable," Bouchard said. "So the most important thing is to break evenly and steadily as quickly as you can, have both hands on the wheels and make sure you are in control of your car for that contact if and when that comes."

7 Action News spoke with drivers about what they would do.

"Oh, I'm going to veer. I am definitely going to veer," Angela Vasquez said.

Vasquez says she sees tons of deer on her way to work. She says it's against her nature not to veer.

"I do get a little scared, but hopefully, there is nothing around," Vasquez said. "I don't want to hit the deer, injure the deer or myself."

Bouchard says the decision can be the difference between life and death.

"If you veer to the left head-on, which is basically your speed times two, and it causes two vehicles to be in a traumatic injury, potentially fatal accident, so it's the best of bad choices," Bouchard said.

If you do happen to hit a deer and it survives, you can call police and they will determine how to best handle the situation.