CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s everyone’s early-morning commute fear. You’re driving into work and a deer runs out in front of you. It happens more often this time of year, and local mechanics are noticing an increase in deer-related crashes.

Ron Latone with Superior Auto Body in Austintown said out of about 60 cars in his shop, half are deer strikes. His shop is booked until February. He says hitting a deer might hit you a little harder in your wallet.

“We’re getting phone calls every day. Can we bring our car? We hit a deer,” Latone said. “People are in rental cars longer because can’t get their car fices right away or we can’t get parts.”

According to Ohio State Highway Patrol’s crash dashboard, there have been over 700 deer-related crashes in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties since January 1, which is up from last year. About 36% of those have happed just since October 1. Most of them happen in the early morning or late evening.

Sgt. Ray Santiago with OSHP says it’s all about keeping your eyes on the road, but if a crash is unavoidable, don’t jerk the wheel.

If you start to swerve and do some of those things, you make the situation worse by striking another vehicle and injuring yourself,” he said. “It goes back to not being distracted and always being alert when you’re behind the wheel.”

Police remind you to stay alert and pay attention to those deer crossing signs.