It’s car/deer season. Sheriff offers advice for motorists.

October 28, 2014

deer picture mason county pressBy Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief. 

LUDINGTON — If you have been reading the police news on Mason County Press you probably have noticed an increase in vehicle/deer crashes. This is a typical pattern for the fall and spring, Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole says.

“While we always encourage drivers to avoid distractions, like talking on their cell phones, we urge them to be extra alert this time of year,” Cole says, adding that the highest deer movements take place in the early morning around dawn and the early evening around dusk.

“There is a likelihood of car/deer crashes on any county and city roadway, but there are certain areas where we seem to have more incidents,” Cole says. Those areas include North Jebavy Drive through Pere Marquette and Hamlin townships, anywhere on Custer or Fountain roads or U.S. 31 and U.S. 10.

“If you drive a route regularly, be familiar with where the deer cross,” Cole says. “But, no matter where you travel, stay alert.”

The sheriff says drivers need to avoid panicking when hitting any animal and should never swerve.

Seen of a June motorcycle/deer crash on U.S. 31.

Seen of a June motorcycle/deer crash on U.S. 31.

“Never leave the roadway,” Cole says. “The probability of a greater incident of injury occurring happens when drivers swerve and leave the roadway. There is a higher risk of collision with a tree, a power pole or rolling over the vehicle. Maintain control of the car.”

If you hit a deer, or another animal that may damage your vehicle, try to clear the roadway as quickly as possible, Cole says. But, do not attempt to move the animal.

“We discourage people from walking out into the roadway and trying to move the animal, especially on a populated roadway. Get to a safe place where you can access your vehicle but do not move the animals. Our deputies can do that.”

Cole says drivers should call 911 and report the location of the crash. If they can drive the vehicle it is the driver’s choice whether they want to remain at the scene of the crash or go to another location, such as their home.

“It’s important that we know the location and that we know if the animal is still in the roadway or not,” Cole says. “We can dispatch a deputy to that area to assure that other drivers do not hit it, causing further vehicle damage. We have had three crashes so far this year where vehicles struck a deer that had already been hit by another vehicle.

In 2013, there were 723 total car/deer crashes in Mason County, including two fatalities, 12 with injuries and 709 with property damage. Of those, 241 took place on one of the two U.S. route highways that run through the county (U.S. 10 and U.S. 31) and 17 took place on M-116; 465 occurred on county or city owned roadways.

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