OUR VIEW: Recent crashes should serve as reminder to be more vigilant drivers

On Monday, Manistee County saw its fifth fatal accident in less than a month. There were only three total during all of 2012.

The cause of the crashes have varied, but Manistee County Sheriff Dale Kowalkowski said it best.

“Each accident has been a little bit different,” he said. “Traffic has increased around our area quite a bit. I think people need to be more cautious when they are driving.”

We couldn’t agree more. Drivers have a big responsibility and more distractions than ever before.

We urge drivers to slow down and pay attention to the road. The American Red Cross offers these tips to stay safe on the road:

  • Be well rested and alert;
  • Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones;
  • Observe speed limits — driving too fast or too slow can increase your chance of being in a collision; and
  • Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.

Find more at www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/highway-safety.

In addition to distractions in the car, drivers should also be on the lookout for deer this time of year.

Despite the fact that a recent report showed that car/deer crashes are down in Michigan, there is an average of 134 such accidents in the state every day, according to the Michigan Deer Crash Coalition.

Here are tips from the Insurance Information Institute on how to reduce the odds of a deer-vehicle confrontation:

  • Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds – if you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby;
  • Remember that deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m.;
  • Use high beam headlamps as much as possible at night to illuminate the areas from which deer will enter roadways; and
  • If a deer collision seems inevitable, attempting to swerve out of the way could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.


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