Tips for drivers to avoid hitting deer

Tips for drivers to avoid hitting deer
Published: Nov. 16, 2015 at 10:19 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2015 at 11:28 PM CST
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HERRIN, IL (KFVS) - The Illinois Department of Transportation stated there was a slight increase in the number of deer collisions in the state last year.

IDOT showed that there were 15,356 crashes in 2014, compared to 15,334 in 2013.

Thomas Whittle, with Murray's Body Shop, said the shop has seen an unusual amount of cars coming in due to deer accidents this early in the year.

"It's only bow season, and we've got a lot of significant hits already and it's kind of early in the early in the year. Usually when the shot gun season starts, is when it gets really bad," Whittle said.

Whittle said the deer population is a lot higher than it has been in recent years.

"So I mean you're seeing them in town, you're seeing them everywhere," he said.

The Murray's Body Shop in Herrin has been around for 36 years and Whittle said the shop has seen thousands of deer collisions

"It's dark at night, you can't see them and they can cause major damage to a vehicle and a life," he explained.

And these accidents can be pretty costly.

"It can range anywhere between $1,500 to $15,000," he said.

For Don Cabbage, he said when he hit a deer it was pretty crazy from what he could remember.

"I was driving a limo and I never, I guess I blacked out because I don't remember anything except for the glass breaking and the wind blowing until we got stopped," Cabbage said.

Bill Triplett said he takes extra precaution during this time of year.

"They're all over the place, just slow down and keep vigilant, that's about all you could do I guess cause you never know when one is going to run out in front of you," Triplett said.

Conservationists and Whittle say if you do see a deer come across you're path, the best advice is to hit it.

"Don't avoid the deer, you need to hit the deer. The deer are soft bodied. It's normal to react, to try to swerve, but I've seen significant damage in injury, rollovers, hitting telephone poles trying to avoid these things," Whittle said.  "They're scary, it's scary, but like I said I've seen a lot more significant damage in people getting hurt avoiding them. Just hit the thing. Just hit your breaks and hold on tight. And the car and the safety features that are built in them today will do their job and keep you safe."

Some tips from Illinois Department Transportation are: slowing down, especially if you're near water, farm fields or wooded areas; if you see one deer, there are probably more, so be cautious; turning on your brights when you can.

For more tips and what to do if you do hit a deer, click here.

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