Drivers vs deer: the crashes, the costs and the advice

Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 6:10 PM EDT
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CROGHAN, New York (WWNY) - Collisions between deer and vehicles aren’t exactly uncommon during the fall. But at least one body shop owner says he has been dealing with customers a little more than usual.

Scott Moshier, the owner of Wolff’s Body Shop in Croghan, says he has seen a lot of deer-related vehicle damage in recent months.

“Just because of, I think, overpopulation (of deer). There just tends to be more around so obviously, the chance of hitting them is greater,” he said.

According to Moshier, the way someone hits a deer determines repair costs. And those costs can vary pretty wildly.

“I’ve seen as low as $1,500 depending on the components. I’ve seen as high as $20,000 for a deer,” he said.

At the start of the day, Moshier had 3 deer-damaged cars at his shop. Now he has four.

On Saturday, Lewis County Sheriff Mike Carpinelli had a run-in with a deer while on patrol.

“It’s typical of all of us. You see the deer coming and do your best to avoid it. The deer jumped and came right over the guardrail. I just turned as hard as we could to avoid the most damage on it,” said Carpinelli.

AAA reports deer are linked to 1.5 million vehicle crashes a year nationwide. So, what should you do if a deer jumps out in front of your car?

“If a collision is unavoidable, make sure you’re applying your breaks firmly and staying in your lane. Swerving sharply to avoid an animal more often causes a more serious crash,” said Valerie Puma, AAA Western and Central NY.

If you’re traveling at night or during the morning, AAA says to keep an eye on the edges of the road. Deer travel in herds so if you see one, there’s probably a few more out of sight.