Body shop experiences uptick in deer-vehicle crashes

WAUNAKEE, Wis (WMTV) -- A Waunakee body shop reports an uptick in car accidents and auto-mechanics are urging drivers to slow down and be vigilant on the roads.

Collision Masters officials said they’ve experienced a 40 percent increase in deer-vehicle accidents and the early winter weather is to blame.

“The farmers have not been able to get the corn out the field as quickly and that's having an effect where the deer are showing up on the road a little quicker. The people coming in are saying 'well it was on me just like that. It came right out of the corn field and there it was,"' Jeff Swafford, Collision Masters Owner said.

According to State Farm Insurance, the odds of a driver hitting a deer are 1 in 116.

Tiffany Schultz, Better Business Bureau Southwest Wisconsin regional director, said she never thought she'd be a part of this statistic.

"I was on my way to the grocery store the other night and I came across a deer and I couldn't stop fast enough," she said.

Schultz said she didn't see it coming and it could have been worse.

"I’m just thankful that there was no oncoming traffic," she said.

Schultz said it's best to do your homework before you take your car to get fixed.

"Make sure it's a good fit. Check out all the information that you can about them. Read reviews, read customer complaints, check out free business profiles and see how business owners are responding to those complaints,” she said.

She said doing extra research can make sure you're getting the best bang for your buck.

"It's not uncommon for us to see 8,9,10 and 12 thousand dollar repairs because of a deer," Swafford said.

Hitting a deer is no small matter, and the damage can be extensive.

"Most of it is going to be in the front of the vehicle. Seems like just about every time it's in the front corner of the car, but it's not uncommon for a deer to turn sideways and bounce down the side of the car and wipe out the doors too," he said.

Auto officials said the damage can take anywhere from two days to three months to be fixed and there are some things drivers can do to lessen the chances of having a deer in their headlights.

“Slow down and make sure your lights are good. Many times we see cars coming in with foggy hazy headlights. Not saying that's going to reduce your opportunity to hit a deer because deer run out of nowhere, but it certainly doesn't hurt to have good lights," Swafford said.