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Deer-related collisions this fall causing spike in auto repairs

Posted at 5:26 AM, Nov 19, 2021

WAUKESHA — November is a time of year when deer in Wisconsin are most active due to rutting or mating season. It is also a time when deer-related collisions spike across the state.

At Marshall Auto Body in Waukesha, they have about 60 vehicles waiting to be fixed. Of those, General Manager Ryan Martin said about 30% are in the shop due to deer-related collisions.

“They are usually front-end hits and sometimes they go down the side and they are pretty uneven,” said Ryan.

Most of the vehicles were brought in within recent weeks, including multiple Teslas with side and windshield damage. Ryan said deer damage can cost anywhere from $3,000- 15,000.

"Obviously the make of the car and what the parts cost," said Ryan.

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According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, in 2020 there were 16,547 deer-related collisions. This year preliminary data shows 11,648 deer-related crashes so far across the state.

WisDOT suggest these tips for avoiding a deer crash:

  • Slow down, pay attention and buckle up.
  • Be especially vigilant in early morning and evening hours when deer are most active.
  • If you find a deer looming in your headlights, don't expect it to move away from the roadway.
  • If a collision with a deer is unavoidable, brake firmly and stay in your lane. Do not swerve.
  • Swerving can confuse the deer as to where it should run and can also cause you to lose control of your vehicle, resulting in a more serious crash.
  • If you are operating a motorcycle, slow down, brake firmly and then swerve if necessary, to avoid hitting the deer. Try to stay within your lane if possible, to avoid hitting other objects or vehicles.
  • Headlights can confuse a deer and cause the animal to freeze.
  • Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path.
  • One long blast from your vehicle's horn may frighten the deer to run away.
  • If you see one deer, watch for more. Deer seldom run alone.

Ryan said if you do find yourself hitting a deer, the best advice is to contact law enforcement, then your insurance company.
“Just try to be careful, try to look around while your driving, be more vigilant,” said Ryan.

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