LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – Car crashes involving deer cause at least $ 130 million in damage each year in Michigan, not to mention serious injuries. Although collisions with deer are a problem year-round, officials say many are most active in the fall.

“There are also a lot more activities this time of year. So they move around, they are much more active, and this is the only time of the year to breed so they are constantly on the move and unfortunately this is when most of them are touched. said Chad Stewart of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

That’s why authorities are reminding Michigan drivers to be on high alert for our furry friends.

On average, collisions between vehicles and deer result in the death of 12 motorists each year. So knowing how to react when you are behind the wheel is extremely important for deer and drivers. Stewart says that when it comes to avoiding deer, you really shouldn’t get out of the way.

“Most collisions happen between dusk and dawn. Be aware that deer occur in groups, so if you see one you are likely going to see several at once and most importantly do not stray. Instead of swerving, officials say braking is a safer option.

But why do deer hit the road in the first place?

“Most of the time, they’re preoccupied with something else. They’re either trying to get somewhere or get away from something. Maybe they misjudge their speed and how fast it’s moving, so unfortunately it doesn’t end well for the deer or the driver in this situation. said Stewart.

This is why drivers must be extremely vigilant from dusk to dawn and in wooded areas.

But what if you hit a deer? Captain Rick Grillo of the Meridian Township Police Department says there are ways to handle the situation safely.

“Pull over to the side of the road whenever it is safe to do so. Activate your hazards so other cars can see that you are stopped. There is no need to get out and check the deer for see if he is still alive and understand that it can be dangerous to do so.

He also says drivers should watch out for yellow signs placed at level crossings for deer for a reason.

“In Meridian Township we have specific areas marked off with signs, yellow signs on the side of the road that show deer passing and I can say if you see these signs take them very seriously because this means that it is an area where we have a lot of accidents with deer. said Captain Grillo.

So be careful, slow down and most of all … don’t stray.

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