As you’re heading to work or to school, either early in the morning or late at night, be on the lookout for deer because hitting one, could cost you a pretty penny.
“The three cars that we have behind us, they all came on Friday within a 60 minute period of eachother,” Body Shop estimator for Dick Smith Collision Repair, Colin Bradshaw said.
Al three vehicles that came in Friday morning to the collision repair shop, collided with deer. Michael Clatanoff was one of those drivers; his first time hitting one.
“I just never saw this thing coming, it was just there,” Clatanoff said. “I was just kind of thankful that its antlers had pierced my windshield and I’m just really thankful that it didn’t pierce my driver’s side window or it might’ve done some damage to me.”
Although Clatanoff wasn't hurt, he said it was a pretty scary situation to be in.
Bradshaw says around this time of year, deer collisions nearly quadruple.
“They’re rutting right now so they're out moving right now, so with the farmers harvesting in all the fields, it kind of pushes them out of the big fields trying to find places to hide and then it's hunting season so there's lots of different reasons why they're kind of exploring new areas,” Bradshaw said.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, in 2015, there were 3,732 deer related crashes in the state. In 2014, that number was 3,720.
The Kansas Department of Transportation showed that 9,982 deer related crashes occurred in Kansas in 2015. In 2014, that number was 9,612.
“People underestimate what a deer can do to a vehicle cause they're thinkin you know, ‘this is steel, that's flesh and blood.’ But when you hit a deer at 60/70 miles per hour, you might as well be hitting a concrete post or something because it's going to do some serious damage."
It can also be pretty costly.
“Depending on how the deer makes contact with the vehicle and how fast you're going, it could be a little vendor bender, less than 500 dollars, or it could be in the several of thousands of dollars or even total the vehicle,” Bradshaw said.
The Kansas Department of Transportation shared a few tips to make sure you’re safe on the road:
- Watch for more than one deer, they usually travel in groups.
- Reduce speed and be alert near wooded areas or green spaces such as parks or golf courses and near water sources such as streams or ponds.
- Deer crossing signs show where high levels of deer/vehicle crashes have occurred in the past.
- Use your bright lights to help you detect deer as far ahead as possible.
- Always wear a seat belt and use appropriate child safety seats. Even if you are waiting in your car, it is best to wear your seat belt, and have your children in car seats.
And if you do hit a deer, here are some more tips KSDOT shared:
- Slow down, pull onto the shoulder and turn on the emergency flashers.
- Don’t worry about the animal. Law enforcement will arrange to have the animal removed from the road when they arrive. Tell the dispatcher if the deer is still in the road when you’re calling for help.
- If possible, remain buckled up in your vehicle, protecting yourself in the event there is a secondary crash involving another vehicle.
- If you must be outside your vehicle, stand as far off the road as possible; make sure hazard lights are activated; don't stand between your vehicle and another vehicle; and make sure children are kept properly restrained in your vehicle.
Rae Daniel can be reached at Rae.Daniel@KSHB.com.