What to do when you have a ‘deer in the headlights’

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – You may have heard the saying “like a deer in the headlights” used to describe the way someone looks when they’re in shock. Well, both the driver and the deer tend to freeze up right before a collision, and Mississippi is considered a High-Risk state for deer collisions.

Ashley Denton, the General Manager at Bob’s Paint and Auto Body Shop in Columbus, said they see about a 40% increase in car versus deer damage between October and January.

“I do believe that the deer tend to move at night more than during the day because of the hunters being in the woods,” Denton said. “What I personally do is I advise people is to use more of your pretrial when there’s deer. At night, sometimes you can see the eyes sometimes with the lights of your vehicle or if you are driving, instead of focusing on the car in front of you, be a little more aware of the surroundings.”

The Mississippi Department of Transportation said if you see one in the road, don’t veer for the deer. Brake firmly and don’t swerve. If you do hit a deer, stay calm.

“Getting in an accident isn’t something a lot of people are used to, so the steps are really pertinent to follow,” Denton said.

The first thing to do is pull over to make sure the vehicle doesn’t have too much damage.

“A lot of times, deer, when they hit the front of the vehicle if they have horns, they’ll puncture the radiator, you’ll lose coolant, you could mess the engine up,” Denton said. “So, the point of contact whenever you do get in a collision is first the tow company to get the vehicle to where it can be safe, and you don’t damage it anymore. The second point is going to be calling your insurance, then you wanna contact the body shop.”

Bob’s Owner Robert Cooper said they’re ready to do their part to get you back on the road.

“Everybody plays their part, and it’s a group effort,” Cooper said.

“Really if they have any questions on what to do next, what the next step is, how to do this, or who to call, we’re more than happy to help even if we don’t retain their business,” Denton said.

According to State Farm, Mississippi is ranked seventh highest for deer collisions with drivers having a one in 64 chance of being involved in a crash with a buck or doe.

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