RALEIGH — The fall season is a time for cooler temperatures, hunting season and also being on the lookout for deer crossing the road.
According to the Department of Transportation, the number of car accidents involving deer across the state is highest from October to December. Last year the state saw more than 200,000 car related accidents; less than 20,000 of those did not involve another vehicle or pedestrian.
"My uncle did once and the deer went through the windshield. The front of his car was all smashed. The hood actually had a hoofprint in the hood and the windshield was smashed as well," said Raleigh resident Alex McTighe.
When it comes to a car versus a deer the damage can be costly.
"It does frame damage, radiator supports radiators. When it gets that much it all adds up and typically when you hit something from the front it does that sort of damage. Generally $2,000 to $5,000 if you want to put a price tag on it," said Maaco Collision repair estimator Sean Flint.
Across North Carolina last year, the number of animal-related crashes in Johnston County was 535, the fifth highest in the state. Ninety percent of them involved deer. Of the other counties who topped the list, none came close to Wake County which doubles Johnston at more than 1,000 crashes. According to DOT, more than half of those crashes happen between October and December.
"In Wake County you have so many people moving into the area taking away deer habitat with all the homes that are being built. So the deer have to move," said NC DOT Communications Officer Jerry Higgins.
However, Higgins said the driver shouldn't necessarily move if they encounter one.
"If you have a choice of swerving out of the way or having to actually just go through and you make contact with the deer it's been shown that you're better off making contact with the deer," said Higgins.
DOT statistics show deer accidents mostly happen between 6 p.m. and 9 p..m. near bridges and overpasses. Drivers are urged to drive with their high beams on and honk their horn if they see a deer approaching.