NASHVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Bear sightings and collisions are becoming more and more common in North Carolina.

In the past two weeks, at least two drivers have crashed into bears on Highway 64 in Nash and Edgecombe counties.

Last Thursday, Chelsea King was driving home on Highway 64 at about 8:30 p.m. near Nashville when a black bear ran out in front of her car.

“The next thing I know, I see an airbag. I didn’t even know I hit anything,” said King. “I called 9-1-1 and when the cop arrived, he came running to my car and he was like, ‘Did you hit that big thing back there?’ “

The trooper told her she hit a 200-pound black bear.

Those types of big bears are a common sight in the eastern and western parts of the state, but not so much in Nash and Edgecombe counties.

“You would think since Highway 64 is so busy that something like a bear wouldn’t jump out like that,” said King. “Just make sure you’re always awake.”

North Carolina State Highway Patrol crash records show it was the second reported accident involving a bear in our area recently.

The other wreck took place on Christmas night on Highway 64 near Tarboro.

“Bear collisions are not as prevalent as deer collisions, but the bear population in North Carolina is actually increasing,” said Sgt. Michael Baker with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Troopers say most animal-related crashes take place from October to January and half of all crashes occur between 5 p.m. and midnight.

King says she’s fortunate she was not injured and hopes her story will make other drivers keep an eye out on the roads.

Troopers also say if you hit a deer or bear with your car do not approach the animal.

There have been cases where the driver is hurt by the injured animal trying to leave the area.WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON