'Tis the prime season for vehicle-deer crashes here in Michgian, where about 50 thousand such encounters are reported annually. The Michigan State Police say 80 percent of those wrecks happen between dusk and dawn on two-lane roads.

MLive.com reported this week that in 2016, the most car-deer wrecks in Michigan happened in Midland, my hometown. The second hottest spot in the state for vehicles to crash into deer is the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills, followed by Meridian Township here in Ingham County. Thirty-one of those wrecks were on Grand River, while Jolly Road had 20 such incidents. Haslett Road had a fair share, too.

MSP offers up these tips to avoid hitting a deer in your travels:

  • Vehicle-deer crashes occur year-round, but be especially alert in spring and fall.
  • Signs are placed at known deer crossing areas to alert you of the possible presence of deer.
  • Deer are herd animals and frequently travel in single file. If you see one deer cross the road, chances are there are more waiting.
  • Be alert for deer, especially at dawn and dusk. If you see one, slow down.
  • Don't rely on gimmicks, flashing your high-beam headlights or honking your horn to deter deer.

If a crash is unavoidable:

  • Don't swerve. Brake firmly, hold onto the steering wheel, and bring your vehicle to a controlled stop.
  • Pull off the road, turn on your emergency flashers, and be cautious of other traffic if you exit your vehicle.
  • Report the crash to the nearest police agency and your insurance company.

And remember to buckle up - it's not just a good idea, it's the law. And it does save lives.