Oh, Deer: Indiana Drivers Have a High Chance of Hitting a Deer

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Updated May 23, 2020 | Auto Accidents |


The 2018/2019 numbers in State Farm’s annual deer collision study have been released, and Indiana ranks 24th on the list of states where drivers are most likely to have a collision with a deer. Although position 24 may not sound very high, look at it this way: Drivers have a 1 in 102 chance of being involved in a car crash with a deer in Indiana.

A car colliding with a deer can cause serious injury and property damage to the driver and occupants of the vehicle. Or, in an even worse scenario, the driver could swerve into another car, leading to more injuries and damage. Understanding the dangers of deer on the roadways and how to avoid collisions with these wild animals will help keep you, your passengers, and others on the road safe.

When and Where Deer Crashes Are Most Common

The first step in preventing a collision with a deer is to arm yourself with information about their behavior.

Late Fall and Early Winter

Deer are most active from October through December. Because of this, there are more Indiana auto accidents involving deer during this time of year.

Dawn and Dusk

Deer are more active at dawn and dusk. This fact, along with the low light, results in a higher number of accidents during this time of day.

Wooded and Rural Areas

Deer are most commonly found in heavily wooded areas and rural areas. They are also likely to be encountered near areas where deer hunting is illegal, such as in subdivisions, state parks, national parks, and nature preserves.

Pack Animals

Deer almost never travel alone. If you see one deer, you can be nearly certain that others are close by.

How to Protect Yourself from a Crash with a Deer

If you drive on roadways where deer are commonly present, you need to drive cautiously. The following safety tips can help to ensure you are not one of the drivers who are involved in an Indiana car accident with a deer each year.

Observe Road Signs

Be aware of road signs that indicate a higher likelihood of deer in the area. These signs are present in areas where there are known deer crossings and an increased deer population.

Slow Down

If you are driving in an area that is indicated as highly populated with deer, slow down.

Turn On High Beams

When driving at night, use your high beams when it is safe to do so. This action will increase your ability to see in front of you as well as to the sides of the road, where deer are more likely to come from.

Stay Calm

If a deer enters your path, resist the urge to swerve. Brake as quickly as possible. Hitting the deer is better than swerving, which could cause you to drive into a ditch, flip your car, or crash into something far worse than a deer, such as another vehicle.

What to Do If You Hit a Deer

If you happen to be involved in an Indiana auto accident with a deer, heed the following instructions:

  • Move your vehicle to a safe place. Pull off the road, if possible, and turn on your hazard lights.
  • Call the police. Indiana police officers are experienced in handling accidents with deer. The police officer will attend to your situation and file a report as necessary. As with any accident, follow the officer’s instructions.
  • Do not approach the deer. Deer are wild animals and are dangerous, especially when they are injured. Don’t approach the deer to see if it’s still alive; the police officer will approach the deer and ensure it is euthanized if necessary.

If you have the proper permit, you have the right to keep the deer in Indiana. You may also consider donating the deer to a food bank. Participating deer processors will accept and process the donated deer at no cost. The cost of butchering is covered by the Sportsman’s Benevolence Fund, and the meat will go to those in need.

Contact an Automobile Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident because of another driver’s negligence, contact an Indianapolis auto accident attorney from Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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