JOPLIN, MO.--- A costly type of accident is more common during this time of the year. It's not unheard of for drivers to hit deer as they cross roads in the Four States. Local body shop owners say these kind of wrecks happen more often as the weather cools down. They've already seen several cars needing repair in the last few weeks.
"We sure get a lot more activity as the weather gets cooler this time of year," said Steve Chenault, Steve's Body Shop Owner.
Body shops in Joplin are seeing an increase in car-versus-deer collisions. Ralph King Body and Frame has repaired six in the past few weeks, and Steve's Frame and Body Shop - nearly double that number.
"We've probably had 10 or 12 in the past two weeks, I'd say. I think as it gets cooler, we're going to have more," said Chenault.
Owners of both shops say most of the accidents happen around the same time of the day, striking the deer with either the left or right fender as it crosses the road.
"Especially early morning or early evening. At dawn and dusk, that's when they seem to be more prevalent," said Chenault.
Many assume it's just the rural roads they need to look out for, but there's an area in town where body shop owners warn drivers to be especially careful.
"There's a few that happen near town, Rangeline, oddly enough, is a very strong area for deer collision," said Mike King, Ralph King Body Shop Owner.
"We've had people hit deer here in Joplin, and that's the scary part. Out by Sam's Club on Rangeline, I saw a deer run into the side of a man's car. He was hitting a stop light and the deer just hit the side and bounced off," said Chenault.
They've seen enough of these wrecks to know one thing.
"You'll never forget it. Every time you go down a dark road, you think there will probably be a deer waiting for you, and sometimes you're right," said King.
"It can be very scary. You're kind of helpless. Once that deer is there, the old saying the deer in the headlights, there's nothing you can do about it. You just hope you don't get hurt," said Chenault.
Body shop owners say they see a larger number of small vehicles that get totaled in car versus deer collisions. They add the best way to avoid a collision is not to steer to the right or left, simply hit your breaks.
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