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Body shop says cars are totaled 'quite frequently' from deer damage

One St. Louis autobody shop said they brace for an increase in business this time of year.

ELLISVILLE, Mo. — The cooler weather of fall brings a new peril to the roads: deer.

Sure we all hover over the brakes while driving on rural roads, but we should also be keeping our hands on ten and two even through the city.

"You wouldn't think with all the development in that area that there would be much deer traffic," Pro Tech Collision Repair Consultant Stephen Watson tells 5 On Your Side, "but they have to get from one side to the other somehow." 

When cars get between a deer and the other side of the road, they end up at body shops with consultants like Watson looking over them. He said most damage is to the front end of a vehicle and it's almost always expensive. 

The highest estimate Watson has written up for a deer crash came in around $20,000. He said many are totaled too. 

"Cars are totaled actually quite frequently, more than you might think, from deer damage," he said.

There's not much you can do, except be more vigilant during the cooler times of the year. 

Watch for eye reflections at night. Experts say if you don't have enough space to stop before hitting a deer, let off the gas to lessen the impact. They say don't slam on the brakes, that can cause the front of the car to dip down causing the deer to go through your windshield.

Watson says deer damage is the shop's number one weather-related damage report, even over accidents that happen in rain or snow. He says the shop is just starting to see an increase in deer strikes, but that more will come in. "It's the start of the season with the colder weather coming in and then the deer rut," Watson tells 5 On Your Side, "definitely the start of the deer strike season."

A season the team at Pro Tech said rolls on through March.

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