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Police already seeing more car-deer crashes, and it's about to get worse

WSBT 22 

We all know it can happen. And when it does, it can be scary.

We’re talking about car crashes caused by deer. Police say there have already been more crashes this year than the same time last year. And statistics show the next few months are the worst when it comes to crashes. That's why they're urging everyone to be careful when driving.

Police say this time of year you'll see even more deer. They're urging that our eyes be on the lookout when driving.

Deer are most active during dusk and dawn hours.

"As the seasons change that means it getting darker earlier and daybreak happening later, and that's going to be when most of us are traveling to and from work, so that's putting more deer out and about moving," said Sgt. Ted Bohner with Indiana State Police.

In 2016 there were more than 14,000 car vs. deer accidents in Indiana. This year we've already exceeded 8,000.

"Traditionally almost half of the car-deer crashes for the entire year happen between October, November and December," said Bohner.

Bohner says there are some things you can do to be safe.

If you can, drive with your brights on at night.

And scan the road -- deer eyes are reflective.

One of the most important tips is sometimes tough – don't have a knee-jerk reaction.

"If you see one, don't swerve, because that's when the serious crashes happen,” said Bohner. People are going to swerve. They're going to run into something like a tree or possibly another vehicle."

Insurance agent Matt Leliaert says hitting a deer is not the driver's fault -- just a bit of bad luck. But if you swerve and hit something else, it can cause some problems with the insurance company.

“You hit a telephone pole, you hit a house or another car, that becomes a collision claim and it's an at-fault accident," said Leliaert.

There are some things you need to do if you hit a deer.

If you can, pull to the side of the road.

If the deer is hurt, stay away from it because it's most likely scared.

And then call the police for a crash report. Getting that report is important for insurance claims, too.

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