Swerving To Avoid Deer Could Be A Deadly Mistake

"This hit a deer on the front end. It's about 10 thousand dollars worth of damage," Troy Black said waving towards one of the many damaged cars in his shop.

This is a busy time of year for Black and the employees of Capitol Body Shop in Ridgeland.

"It's torn the front bumper cover completely off. This one's going to be about $8,500 right here," Black said, pointing to another car.

And they're not the only two. Black says he has about eight or nine vehicles in the shop right now, all damaged by run-ins with deer. That number will only grow as the number of deer on our roadways grows.

"During the holiday season and the cold weather, and it's hunting season, there are going to be more deer along the roadway," Mississippi Department of Transportation Spokesperson Amy Hornback said.

Highway officials say the cost of accidents involving deer averages about $1,500. But, believe it or not, hitting the deer might be the safest thing you could do as a driver.

"We tend to want to swerve to avoid hitting any animal in the roadway, but it is far better to hit the deer than to swerve and hit a fixed object like a tree or utility poll. That's how most often drivers are injured," Hornback said.

Troy Black agrees. He says he's seen it firsthand.

"I haven't had any fatalities where someone has run over a deer."

It may be a tough decision, but a decision the experts say could save your life.

Here are some other tips from MDOT.

  • When travelling on two lane roads, check adjacent fields for deer.
  • Go slowly and use high light beams when you can.
  • You can also buy a new device that attaches to your front bumper and whistles in the wind. The device scares deer away and can be bought at most auto parts stores.

by Davis Brister