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State Farm estimates that 1.5 million vehicles collide with deer every year, resulting in 150 motorists’ deaths and $1.1 billion in vehicle damages. Michigan ranks second among the top ten worst states for vehicle-deer collisions. According to AAA of Michigan, deer were directly or indirectly responsible for approximately 60,000 car accidents last year in Michigan alone.

This is what the police and driving safety experts advise:

The worst thing you can do is swerve your car or slam on your car brakes to avoid a deer. It is far better to kill the deer than it is to seriously kill yourself or an innocent passenger or driver of another vehicle by veering into an oncoming car or truck or slamming your car into a tree. The best thing you can do is to slow down but do not brake sharply. Try to stay in your lane of travel.

But what if you don’t have time to safely slow down and avoid hitting the deer?

Hit the deer. A typical whitetail deer in Michigan weighs around 200lbs. A typical car weighs over 3,000lbs. In a contest between a car and a deer, the car will win. That is why Michigan State Police advise young drivers to “drive through the deer” and why public safety campaigns coined the phrase “don’t veer for deer.” By swerving to avoid a deer collision with your car, you put yourself and others in far more serious danger than you would by staying in your lane and hitting the deer.
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