THP: More than 7,000 deer-related crashes reported in 2016

(Photo: WKRN)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Law enforcement officers across the state are warning drivers to be careful because there’s a spike in deer-related crashes in November to December. Tennessee Highway Patrol says November is generally the worst month.

THP says there were more than 7,000 crashes involving deer in 2016. Of those crashes, 330 involved injuries and one was fatal. THP says that’s a 3.8 percent increase from 2015.

“I came over the crest of the hill and then all of a sudden, the deer was on the left hand side and decided that it was just going to jump right out in front of me,” said John Marquis of Clinton.

Marquis says he’s been in two car crashes involving a deer. Both times it caused the same amount of damage.

“My car was totaled,” he said.

This time of year, every year, it can be dangerous to drive because it’s mating and hunting season for deer. It’s part of the reason why we see more of them at dawn and at dusk.

“Pay attention to what’s going on around you. Be scanning the roadway. You know a lot of times you’ll see them ahead of you in the shoulder of the road or edge of the field. Be looking for that type of thing,” said THP Lt. Don Boshears.

Boshears says there are mistakes drivers often make.

“When you try to swerve to miss it, you’re not really looking to see what’s around you,” he said.

Troopers add that when you speed up, it can make matters much more dangerous.

“We recommend trying to slow down. If you’re in that situation where you know there’s no way that you’re going to avoid hitting it, the slower your speed, the less impact and the less damage or the less chance that you’re going to get hurt could result,” said Boshears.

Workers at Joe Neubert Collision Repair Center were repairing one car on Thursday due to a crash with a deer.

“You hit something that weights 150 pounds up and it does a lot of damage to a car,” said Craig Carringer.

Carringer believes they’ll be fixing more and more cars over the coming weeks, adding that repairs generally range from $1,500 to $5,000.

“Normally front bumpers, headlights, fenders,” added Carringer.

While front bumper guards may be an option, Carringer says they may not be practical for everyone.

Marquis drives parts of Highway 441 in Anderson County twice a day, every day and so when he sees a deer, he flashes his bright lights “to let them know that there’s something up ahead.”

In some cases, a deer may survive the collision and so THP troopers say it’s best not to follow your instincts and check on the animal. If the deer is injured and still alive, the deer may think you’re trying to hurt it and attack you. Troopers say you should stay in your car and call 911 or *THP. They’ll be able to come out and help clear the accident and take care of the animal if necessary.