Michigan Driver Ends Up in River After Swerving to Avoid Deer

by Kayla Zadel

A Michigan woman survived with non-life-threatening injuries after swerving off the road and consequently ending up in a river. The Berrien County woman tells police that she was trying to avoid a deer.

The 25-year-old was traveling on East River Road in Buchanan Township in Berrien County in southwest Michigan. Around 10 AM on Monday (Jan. 25), she swerved to avoid a deer. As a result, she lost control of her vehicle, according to a statement issued by state police.

“After losing control, the vehicle struck a utility pole and two trees before going off a ledge, overturning, and landing in the St. Joseph River,” police said according to Detroit News.

Members of the Buchanan police and fire departments, as well as troopers from the Michigan State Police, responded to the scene. Jaws of life were used to free the woman because part of the car’s roof was partially crushed, police say. Then she was transported to Lakeland Hospital Niles for care.

Police issued a warning about the dangers of swerving to avoid an animal which can lead to loss of control of the car.

“It can also confuse the animal as to which way to go,” MSP tweeted. “Your odds for surviving an accident are better when hitting an animal than when hitting another car or object.”

Best Way to Avoid a Deer While Driving

Contrary to belief, the worst thing to do when encountering a deer in your path is to swerve to try and miss the animal. According to AP News, two-thirds of the 1,002 Americans surveyed believe that swerving was the best way to avoid or minimize damages.

Here are a few points on how to avoid hitting a deer. First off, stay in the center lane if there is one. This will help increase visibility from the side of the road. Additionally, if you’re driving at night, use high beams to help illuminate the path. Make sure to wear your seatbelt and pay attention to deer crossing signs.

If you do see a deer, slow down without slamming on the breaks and sound the horn. However, if a collision is unavoidable, some people argue that accelerating to help shift the weight to the rear and raise the front angle of the vehicle can help avoid some damage to the vehicle.

If you do make contact with the animal, pull over as best as you can, and resist getting out of the vehicle to approach the animal.

Keep in mind that deer are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to exercise caution during this time if you’re driving.