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Arkansas ranks 9th for car-deer collisions - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Arkansas ranks 9th for car-deer collisions

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Texarkana, Arkansas -

It's that time of year, when you're driving down the road and then suddenly a deer darts in front of you.
    
According to a recent State Farm study, if you live in Arkansas the risks are even greater.  
    
The natural state has now moved into the national top ten in terms of the risk of a deer collision.
    
But there are some ways to avoid an accident.

"It's a big problem around here. You've got to really be very careful, especially around sunrise or sunset. They'll dart right out in front of you and if you see one, there's probably another one behind it," said Paul Smeltzer, Co-Owner Smelter's Garage.  

Not only does he repair vehicles damaged by deer collisions, he's had some pretty close calls himself.

"It's very scary, you'll close your eyes and grit your teeth because you know it's going to be a pretty nasty impact. I've heard of people actually being killed after hitting a deer because they lose control of their vehicle sometimes, explained Smeltzer.  

Anybody who hits a deer with their car knows it can do a lot of damage but there are ways to avoid a trip to an auto body shop.

Drive defensively and slow down in those rural areas that are known to have deer.

Field biologist Eley Talley says it's important to watch for deer crossing signs, use high beam headlamps, and don't attempt to swerve because you could lose control of your vehicle.

He says car-mounted deer whistles are okay to use, but not always reliable.  

Statistics show the odds of hitting a deer in Arkansas are 1 in 102.

Jennifer McGuiness of Texarkana hit a deer that was traveling in a herd across a rural road.

"I slowed down. It looked like they were going to head the other way, so I sped back up and they just darted out in front of me. The impact was pretty bad, said McGuiness.

She is also the office manager at Roberts Body Shop in Texarkana, Arkansas.
 
During the fall season, she says they sometime get up to 50 vehicles in the shop needing repairs from deer collisions.

Sometimes it's a dent, sometimes it's a total.

State Farm estimates the total cost of claims on deer collisions in Arkansas was about $75 million last year.

There are dozens of videos online that capture vehicle-deer collisions.

Texas and Louisiana were classified by the insurer as low-risk states.
    
For the seventh year in a row, West Virginia tops the list as the most dangerous.

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