Deer-car collisions increase during the fall, experts say

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Because fall is deer mating season, experts explain you'll see more deer around this time, and unfortunately, many of those may be at your front bumper.

"Males are out looking for females, the females are even sometimes avoiding the males," explained Greensboro Science Center Education Director Martha Regester. "So all of them are crossing boundaries and that usually includes roads."

And that means area body shops have been seeing a boom in business.

"Oh it's definitely a financial gain," said Mike Cline, owner of Mike's Paint and Body Shop in High Point. "But it's bad for the people who own the vehicles. Hopefully, they've got insurance."

Cline said his shop began to see deer-damaged cars in mid-September.

"One we had the other week -- it hit three deer at one time," he said. "And this is just the beginning of it."

Regester explained that the phrase "deer in the headlights" is a very real phenomenon.

"Deer are active mostly in the very early morning hours and right at dusk when the light levels are low," Regester said. "They're great at seeing in very low light. But when a headlight comes at them, it's very bright. They freeze."

AAA Carolinas released the following advice for drivers on how to avoid deer-car collisions.

  • Keep your eyes moving back and forth.Continuously sweep your eyes across the road in front of you for signs of animals and movement. Animals may also be alongside the road, so make sure to look to the right and left, as well. While the most likely accident is you hitting an animal, on occasion they might also hit you by running into the side of your car.
  • Use high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic. You can spot animals sooner. Sometimes the light reflecting off their eyes will reveal their location.
  • Slow down around curves.It’s harder to spot animals down the road when going around curves.
  • One long blast.A long blast on your horn may frighten animals away from your vehicle.
  • Use brakes if an impact is imminent.Don’t swerve. Instead, stay in your lane. Swerving away from animals can confuse them so they don’t know which way to run. It can also put you in the path of oncoming vehicles or cause you to crash into something like a lamppost or a tree.
  • After the crash, stay away. Don't go near an animal if it's hurt. Wounded animals are unpredictable and have the capacity to attack you.
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