HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Around this time of year, drivers on Mississippi roads have a higher chance of hitting a deer.
State Farm ranks Mississippi 10th nationally in deer collisions.
The odds that drivers will hit a deer in Mississippi are one out of 87 drivers and according to State Farm, Mississippians are more likely to hit a deer this year than they were last year.
Workers at Maaco Collision Repair & Auto Painting in Hattiesburg said they see lots of customers with deer-related accidents this time of year.
"At least three or four a week starting this time of year especially the people that live on country roads," Owner Tammy Lazzarino said. "They see a lot of deer."
Lazzorino said drivers do not always hit the deer. She said deer can also hit drivers.
"They hit the hood, the bumper the lights," Lazzorino said. "We've had accidents where they were hit on the sides like their door because the deer would come out and hit them instead of them hitting them in the front."
Hitting a deer can be costly. According to State Farm, Mississippi has had more than 22,700 claims from deer collisions in the past year.
"The costs of the claims now are about $4,000 for the average deer claim," State Farm Insurance Agent Jason Wesley said.
Wesley said these claims are twofold.
"There's very big safety issues and then your cost issues," Wesley said."Obviously all the cost that goes into your claims, affects your rates. And if you have a lot of deer claims, that's a lot of cost."
Wesley said safety should always come first.
"Don't swerve and run off the road to avoid the collision," Wesley said.
"You don't want to get hurt to avoid hitting a deer. Just be very alert when you drive and know that deer are very unpredictable."
Wesley said there is an increased risk of a collision with deer around dawn and dusk.