With bow season in full swing, and firearm deer season just a few weeks away, the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office is warning drivers about deer populations on the move.

In 2016 there were a reported 46,870 accidents involving vehicles and deer in Michigan. Of those, 1,240 caused injuries and 14 people lost their lives. The Sheriff’s Office is warning residents now that fall is upon us and hunters are in the woods that there is a heightened chance of car-deer accidents occurring. Sheriff Mike Murphy has some tips to keep people safe and reduce damage to their vehicles in the unfortunate instance of a collision. He said that while it’s a natural reaction to swerve when you see a deer in your path, the better course of action is to just hit it. Murphy said the sheriff’s office sees too many times that people crash into a tree when trying to get out of the way of a deer and that you’re likely to do less damage by just hitting the animal.

Murphy also encouraged drivers to drive slower at dusk at dawn, when most accidents occur. Don’t out outdrive your headlights and look beyond their beams for the eyes of deer that may be near the path of your vehicle. Flashing your lights as well as blowing your horn are also effective methods of scaring the deer away. Deer travel together, so if you see one, chances are there are others nearby. Murphy concludes by reminding people to heed deer crossing signs, and if you do hit one, make sure you report it to your local police or the sheriff’s office. (MK)