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Avoiding deer in your headlights

By Nadia Singh, nsingh@wdbj7.com
Published On: Nov 07 2013 08:56:35 PM EST
Updated On: Nov 07 2013 12:00:00 AM EST

New at eleven, there's a road hazard that's more dangerous this time of year than any other.

ROANOKE, Va. -

It's a nightmare in the making.

You're driving down a dark road and all of a sudden you see deer coming towards you.
So, what do you do?

According to State Farm Insurance, Virginia ranks 12-th in the nation for deer involved car crashes. This time of the year is even worse, with mating and hunting seasons starting. But, there are things you can do to make sure you walk away from a crash safely.

"We've seen approximately 56 calls for service involving deer from September 1st to now," Sgt. Jay Matze told Your Hometown News Leader.

Although not all of those calls were for deer related accidents, this is the time of year when officers say you've got to pay extra attention to the road.

"Let the distractions go, put the phones down pay attention to what you're doing," said Matze.

And it will be around dusk or dark when you do find yourself getting too close to a deer. Be careful, hit the brakes and:

"Try to avoid any drastic, swerving action that's going to put you in the lane or off the shoulder where you could lose control."

Experts say, hit the deer if you have to. Not only is it safer, it's easier on your insurance premium. Deer crashes are covered under comprehensive coverage, but swerving and hitting anything else is collision coverage, many times more expensive for your insurer.

The nightmare of smashing into a deer at full speed may keep you up at night, but it's a blessing in disguise for Richard Henegar, owner of Quality Auto Paint And Body.

"November, December, that's when we see a lot of deer hits. And like I said, it's about 70-percent of our business," Henegar told WDBJ7.

That's a busy and lucrative winter season for these guys. But for Henegar, it's all about keeping his customers safe.

"Just hit it, don't try to swerve. That's the worst thing you can do is swerve to try to miss a deer, that's when people get hurt."

If you do get into an accident with a deer, get your car safely out of the roadway.

Don't leave the scene or tamper with the damage.