Motorist Warning: Beware of Deer

Motorist Warning: Beware of Deer

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Sam Penrod reporting Tis the season--we're not talking about the holidays but the increased risk of hitting a deer.

A new report shows car and deer collisions caused a billion dollars in damage nationwide last year.

A few deer have been hit on the freeway near point of the mountain in recent days. And right now throughout the state, the danger of hitting a deer on the road is at its peak.

Deer carcasses seem to litter the highways in Sanpete County these days. It's nothing new-- deer on the roads during the winter in rural Utah is a fact of life, and so is the roadkill.

Brent Peterson/ Sanpete County Resident: "You can see them laying right off the side of the road and a lot of times they are still in the road when you are coming through."

During the winter months, large deer herds frequently graze in farmers' fields and typically those fields aren't far away from the highway.

Deer migrate out of the mountains looking for food and don't see the highways for the hazard that they are.

Deer usually start crossing the road at dusk--and can be difficult to see. Often they will dart right in front of you.

Dented cars with remnants of deer fur show up to local auto body shops just about everyday.

Todd Miller/ Auto Body Repairman: "We have probably 50 percent of our business in the winter is from deer collisions."

And the average repair bill runs between one and five thousand dollars!

Todd Miller: "Typical damage is outer sheet metal damage, hood, fender, bumper lights."

A new study by the Insurance Information Institute reveals the insurance industry paid out one billion dollars in deer related claims last year.

An estimated 500- thousand car accidents involving deer killed 100 people nationwide.

Matt Briggs/ Division Of Wildlife Resources: "There's more cars on the roads. People are driving at higher speeds. I think a lot of that accounts for what we are seeing when the deer are hit."

The statistics are re-enforced by visible signs along the roadways that during this time of the year, the hazard of hitting a deer is very real.

Safety experts say slowing down at night in areas with deer is the best way to reduce the risk of hitting a deer.

And if you see a deer in the road, avoid swerving or other quick maneuvers, since that greatly increased your chance of a rollover or more serious accident.

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