REED CITY — An estimated 1.5 million Michiganders will travel during the 102-hour Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend and Sheriff Jim Crawford would like all of them to arrive at their destinations safely.

The combination of long distance travel and a relatively short time period can turn deadly.  Eleven people were killed in car crashes during the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday.  In order to avoid becoming a statistic Sheriff Crawford advises you to get plenty of rest before driving, avoid alcohol and wear your seatbelts.

The holiday coincides with the firearm deer season, which means hunters will add to the numbers on the road during the high travel holiday.  A large deer herd, combined with large numbers of cars on the road, creates a high probability for collisions.  In 2010 62,000 deer-vehicle crashes were reported.  These crashes caused 1,500 injuries and 10 deaths.

“Most often, you’ll see a deer near dawn or dusk,” said Sheriff Crawford.  Motorists are encouraged to look beyond the beam of their headlights for eyes of deer that may be near the path of your vehicle.  The best way to avoid a deer/car collision is to slow your car down, flash your headlights and/or blow your horn to try and scare the animal.  Deer travel together, if you see one chances are others are coming so please proceed with caution.

Remember to heed deer crossing signs.  If you do hit a deer make sure you report it to your local police or Sheriff’s office.