Looking out for deer when driving

Published: Oct. 4, 2023 at 7:01 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2023 at 8:47 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - In 2022, about 53% of deer-related crashes occurred during October, November, and December, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

Data presented by the Virginia DMV showed that Rockingham County saw the 6th most deer-related crashes in the Commonwealth and Augusta County saw the 3rd most crashes.

Deer can be spotted any time of day. Morgan Dean, Spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said they are often most active in the morning and at dusk.

“For drivers, I think looking further down the road and scanning left to right to see if there is any kind of movement or any kind of reflecting eyes off to the side of the roadway. Very important thing to be able to see them from a good distance it will give you a chance to stop,” said Dean.

Dean says that depending on the crash, it can be fatal to people and deer.

“Last year in Virginia we saw 6,135 crashes, there were 4 deaths across the state in deer-related crashes and 568 people were injured,” said Dean.

Avoiding distractions is one way to ensure safety and being aware of deer and other wildlife, according to Dean.

“Passengers in the car, a pet in the car, food and drink in the car, onboard electronics can distract us,” said Dean.

AAA said the average cost of repairs is about $5,500, which has gone up 40% in the last 5 years, according to Dean.

Steven Faught, owner of Shenandoah Automotive, said he sees a lot of people come with damages from deer crashes in the fall.

“It can be minor or it can be surprisingly major a deer might not look that big on the side of the road but it can do some damage,” said Faught.

If you have a deer-related crash, you should get your car looked at sooner rather than later, according to Faught.

“If you see fluids leaking or something like that you are definitely going to want to get it into a shop but even if you don’t see that it is good to get it looked over to make sure there is no underlying issue that can cause you an issue down the line,” said Faught.

Tim Karnes, owner of Curb Appeal, said he normally does not see many deer-related crashes in the summer.

“Unfortunately this year we have had quite a few this summer but in the fall and winter they are running and it is quite often we see a lot of them happen,” said Karnes.

Karnes said the damage to your car depends on the crash.

“It can be as little as a headlight out. a little piece of your bumper or it could be as big they roll and hit your windshield, hit the roof, hit the side of the vehicle,” said Karnes.