RAMSEY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – If you drive in New Jersey, you may have noticed more deer out on the roadways, and that means sometimes cars end up colliding with them.

It’s a dangerous time for both animals and vehicles, reports CBS2’s Nick Caloway.

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“This is the best example of showing you the destruction a deer could do to a car,” said Tony Lake, owner of Exclusive Auto Collision where he sees the worst a crash can make. “We get about probably 30 of these a year, deer hits. So we get to see quite a bit of the damage they do.”

This week he had two vehicles come in with damage from deer hits.

“It crumpled it. You can see from the impact, it looks like he hit a telephone pole. He hit a deer,” he said.

A 2018 Jeep Wrangler was a total loss with a bent steel frame after its collision with a deer.

An Audio A6 in Lake’s show had $10,000 worth of damage from a similar impact.

“To do this type of damage, it’s just amazing the type of impacts these deer are having on cars,” said Lake.

Bergen County drivers are used to seeing deer on the roads, but that doesn’t make it easier to avoid them.

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“It’s frightening,” said Howard Danziger of Ramsey, N.J. “You don’t want to do damage to them or your car.”

“It is kind of scary out there, especially in the early morning with the haze,” said George Correa of Garfield.

George Correa has hit two deer in his lifetime, so he knows first hand what it’s like.

“They come out of nowhere,” he said. “You want to let go of your steering wheel, man, because you freak out so bad. The impact is there, and you end up where you end up.”

Just last week New Jersey state wildlife officials issued a warning for drivers that, right now, deer are in peak mating season – meaning a frisky deer may be more likely to cross a busy road when it’s looking for a mate.

State officials urge drivers to be extra cautious during the morning and evening commutes when visibility is poor.

Planning To Avoid Collisions With Deer

According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection:

  • If you spot a deer, slow down and pay attention to possible sudden movement. If the deer doesn’t move, don’t go around it. Wait for the deer to pass and the road is clear.
  • Pay attention to “Deer Crossing” signs. Slow down when traveling through areas known to have a high concentration of deer so you will have ample time to stop if necessary.
  • If you are traveling after dark, use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic. High beams will be reflected by the eyes of deer on or near roads.
  • If you see one deer, be on guard: others may be in the area. Deer typically move in family groups at this time of year and cross roads single-file. Female deer are being chased by bucks and during breeding phase are often unaware of traffic.
  • Don’t tailgate. Remember: the driver in front of you might have to stop suddenly to avoid hitting a deer.
  • Always wear a seatbelt, as required by law. Drive at a safe and sensible speed, taking into account weather, available lighting, traffic, curves and other road conditions.
  • If a collision appears inevitable, do not swerve to avoid impact. The deer may counter-maneuver suddenly. Brake appropriately, but stay in your lane. Collisions are more likely to become fatal when a driver swerves to avoid a deer and instead collides with oncoming traffic or a fixed structure along the road.
  • Report any deer-vehicle collision to a local law enforcement agency immediately.
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