Deer-Car Collisions: What kind of damage can a deer do?

Deer in the road

Just when the days get shorter and the holiday season picks up, deer season begins. Unfortunately, this leads to an increase in deer strikes. Reviewing insurance claims gives a good picture of just how much deer-car collisions rise in the late fall. According to the Highway Data Loss Institute, animal strike claims double the yearly average in November. The resulting damage skyrockets, too: Average claims jump from a low of $2,801 in February to a high of $3,560 in November. 

So what kind of damage can a deer strike cause, and how can you avoid these costly accidents?

Damage caused by animal strikes

A white-tailed buck can weigh up to about 300 pounds, and deer can run at speeds of up to 30 mph. It’s no surprise then that a collision often causes serious damage. First off, though, the sad reality: Deer involved in crashes are usually killed or severely injured. It’s important to never approach an injured deer but instead wait for help to arrive. A hurt and scared deer may kick or injure anyone who comes too close. Drivers and passengers can also be seriously injured or even killed in deer-car collisions. 

As for vehicle damage, the severity depends on the type of car, the speed traveled and the angle of the strike. Front-end damage (soft damage) is most common and may include: 

  • Shattered headlights, fog lights or auxiliary lights
  • A damaged bumper and cracked bumper cover
  • A cracked or shattered windshield
  • A bent hood or fenders

There’s also plenty of damage you might not be able to see immediately, including:

  • Punctures to the radiator, leading to coolant leaks and engine damage
  • Brake problems, especially if you slammed on the brakes to avoid the collision
  • Shock absorber or strut assembly issues, particularly if you swerved to avoid hitting the deer

Driving with any of the issues above is dangerous. You’ll instead want to call a tow truck and have your vehicle looked over at a repair shop before hitting the road again.

How to avoid a deer collision

According to Consumer Reports, Georgians have a 1 in 89 chance of hitting a deer. 

While some deer-strike collisions are impossible to avoid, you can take some precautions.

In areas where there are likely to be deer, stay alert. Look for “Deer Crossing” signs, and make a note of spots where you’ve seen the animals before. If you see one, slow down. They move in groups, and it’s often the second deer that crosses the road and is hit. If a crash is unavoidable, brake but try not to swerve—advice from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Swerving sometimes leads to running off the road or colliding with another car, leading to more serious injuries and auto damage.

Contact us today for a free estimate

If you’ve been involved in a deer crash, you need help getting your vehicle back on the road and running safely. At Bavarian Body Works, our trained technicians will evaluate the repair and replacement options with you, always with a focus on your safety. Contact us today for more information.