Deer Causes Fatal Car Accident in Indiana After Entering Highway

by Lauren Boisvert
(Image Credit: Angie Birmingham/Getty Images)

In Indiana, a deer caused a fatal crash on the Indiana Toll Road on the evening of Oct. 2. The deer entered the highway around 7:55 pm and was struck by an SUV traveling west. The SUV then swerved over the median and crashed into a pickup truck with at least three people inside. The driver and passenger of the SUV died at the scene of the accident, while one passenger in the front seat of the pickup also died. The truck driver and backseat passenger sustained serious injuries and were taken to a local hospital.

Deer became more active at dusk and dawn, as well as during the fall when mating season occurs. This time of year also coincides with hunting season. Deer are going to be out and about, and they may enter roads and highways. It’s important not to swerve to avoid hitting the animal, as that can endanger those on the road around you. While there is a possibility of death when hitting a deer at highway speeds, it is much safer than colliding with another vehicle, all things considered.

Deer Cause Over 1 Million Accidents Per Year Due To Habitat Fragmentation and Other Factors

More than 1 million deer are hit by cars every year, and deer collisions cause 200 fatalities annually. In the US the chances of hitting a deer with your car are 1 in 116. Deer-vehicle collisions mostly occur because of roads built too close to habitats, a dense deer population, and a high urban population.

When roadways cut through deer-populated areas, they are still going to use the paths they’ve always taken through the woods. That sometimes means cutting across roads and highways. This leads to collisions and is also why greenways and natural bridges are so important. Natural bridges give wildlife a safe space to cross roads and highways, either over or under.

Roadways built near water sources in less populated areas attract more of the animals because of the foraging opportunities and resources. The time of year and day also contribute to collisions. It’s harder to see deer at night when they’re more active. From May to November, they are also increasingly active because of the mating season and foraging before winter.

Additionally, the reintroduction of wolf populations in Wisconsin has actually lowered the number of collisions in the state. The wolves hunt the deer, culling their overgrown population, and subsequently lowering the number of accidents caused by deer, according to a study done by Jennifer Raynor, a Wesleyan University natural-resource economist. She found that collisions were reduced by 25 percent when wolves were reintroduced.

Overall, if you live in a heavily deer-populated area, there’s a chance you may encounter one on the road eventually. Especially in Pennsylvania, which has the most collisions in the United States, or in West Virginia, where the risk is the highest.