By Brenda Waters

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Severe weather and potholes are the only dangers on our roads and highways. It’s prime season for deer running out in front of vehicles and causing crashes, and the repairs could cost you a fortune.

Auto body shop owner Jeff Critchlow talks about repair costs.

“This is probably $7,500 worth of damage. This vehicle came in about a week ago, we started on it, waiting for parts, another $4,000,” he says of one of the vehicles he’s repairing after a collision with a deer.

Between mating and hunting season, and just a growth in the population, deer are hitting the road in record numbers.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Critchlow owns an auto body repair shop in Shaler Township. He says, at one time, about a fourth of his work came from deer damage, but now that is quickly approaching half of his business.

Critchlow: “Last month, we had over 15 to 16 cars, and well over $60,000 in claims of just deer loss damages.”
KDKA’s Brenda Waters: “And this month?”
Critchlow: “We’ve had about a half dozen non-drivables, and we’ve written probably 12-15 drivable cars that we’ve scheduled to come in.”

And with newer cars equipped with new technology, deer damage is getting more and more expensive.

“Your average deer hit, say five years ago, was $2,500 to $3,000. Now they range from $5,000 to $7,500,” said Critchlow.

Deer don’t seem to care if you are behind the wheel of a police vehicle, just ask Shaler Police Lt. Sean Frank.

“Last night, one of our officers was on patrol in the area in Shaler, a deer ran right out into the side of his vehicle. There was no way to avoid it,” said Lt. Frank.

AAA instructs us on how to drive in sleet, snow and rain, but how do drivers avoid deer?

AAA Spokesperson Jim Garrity gives this advice, “Want to make sure you are slowing down, scanning the road well ahead of where you are, making sure you are paying attention.”

Remember, the busiest times for deer are dawn and dusk.