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Thursday, 04 January 2018 18:35

Deer Add to Winter Driving Hazards in Ohio

Written by Brandon Hannahs, Zanesville Times Recorder
A GMC Acadia was involved in a deer accident recently and is being repaired at Classic Body Shop in Zanesville. A GMC Acadia was involved in a deer accident recently and is being repaired at Classic Body Shop in Zanesville. Photo: Brandon Hannahs/Times Recorder

Winter weather creates its own havoc on roads, but another culprit during this time of the year is deer.

The Zanesville, OH, Highway Patrol Post 60 has dealt with 199 deer accidents, only 10 of which featured an injury, through Dec. 20, while the Muskingum County Sheriff has had 14 such incidents through that date.


The Zanesville Police Department did not have stats recorded for those accidents.


The Highway Patrol did not have the number for incidents per month or areas of higher frequency, but the majority of the accidents, 119, occurred between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. (42) and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (77).


The sheriff office had seven of the 14 happen in either October (three) or November (four). Cass Township had the highest rate with four, while nine of the 14 occurred during the same time frame as the hours provided by the Highway Patrol.


Highway Patrol Sargent Kevin Kelley recommended drivers be cautious during those hours.


"People should slow down, but you are better off hitting the deer than swerving," he said. "The deer is going to give a lot more than a tree or guardrail."


The accidents keep area body shops busy. Doug Roberts, manager of the Dutro Ford Body Shop, noted fall and winter are when he sees the majority of cars in need of repair after hitting deer, but work remains steady year round.


He estimated repair costs can range from $1,000 to $6-7,000 depending on parts, especially with the increase of electronics used in vehicles.


Shawn Wagner, owner of Classic Body Shop, echoed a similar sentiment with consistent work coming in. With his shop being in downtown Zanesville, he frequently gets vehicles from out of town that hit deer on Interstate 70.


Both also noted it's common to work on vehicles with deer whistles.


"September to November is the biggest workload, but we see the same amount of cars now that we did 10 years ago," Wagner said. "Cost can be expensive depending on the parts. I just had a Cadillac come in with $10,000 worth of damage. There are also the lucky ones who just lose a mirror or get a small dent that only costs a couple hundred dollars."


On the insurance side, making claims involving deer can be straightforward. John Patterson, an agent with McInturf-Fulmer Insurance Group, noted drivers should try to contact local authorities and their insurance agent or company. He recommended getting visual proof, like photos, and receiving an estimate from a body shop.


Patterson also said hitting a deer or a deer running into a vehicle falls under comprehensive and usually does not affect the premium, compared to hitting another vehicle or a telephone pole, which falls under collision and usually raises premium rates and has a higher deductible.


He added many insurance companies also offer first-accident forgiveness.


"We need to know where it happened, what time and damage to the car," he said. "Insurance companies like a police report, but we understand they can be busy, so in this digital age, photos work and usually show if someone has hit a deer or not.


"If people are able to get all of those, it usually takes less than 24 hours to process a claim so people can get their car repaired. The most important part is not to swerve. You lessen the chance for injury, and you can fix the vehicle."

 

We thank Zanesville Times Recorder for reprint permission. 

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