Car Vs. Wildlife Crashes Increase During Fall Season

S.D.-Last week a Sioux Falls man died after swerving to avoid a deer in the road. Unfortunately this is a dangerous time of year for drivers because a lot of wildlife is moving around.

It’s now harvest season, but you might as well say it’s deer season as well. According to data from the South Dakota Highway Patrol, the most car versus wildlife accidents happen around October and November. Last year between October and November there were over 1500 crashes in South Dakota involving wildlife and almost 5 thousand crashes for the entire year.

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks says there are several reasons why more deer are out and about this time of year.

“One of them does have to do with the agricultural activity that’s going on right now. There’s a lot of agricultural equipment out in the fields removing crops, so that does cause a disturbance,” said Josh Delger, Terrestrial Resource Supervisor for South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.

It’s also their breeding season, so if you see a deer crossing the road expect their to be others nearby.

“If you see a female or doe crossing the road at this time in the next few months it’s really good to be paying attention for a buck that may be following,” said Delger.

South Dakota Highway Patrol says the best thing to do if a deer jumps in front of your car is start to slow down, but keep driving. Do not swerve because you could lose control and roll into a ditch or hit another car.  

“Getting another vehicle involved in a crash is going to be probably much worse and more property damage, more possibility for injury than just trying to slow down to hit the deer,” said Trooper Kellyn Neth, South Dakota Highway Patrol.

As much as we don’t want to hit a dear sometimes you can’t avoid it.

“Sometimes it does just happen because your driving along it’s dark out your headlights can only see so much in front and beside your vehicle at night time dark ditches. Sometimes a dear is running across the road quickly and its unavoidable,” said Neth.

If you end up hitting a deer highway patrol says to always call 9-1-1. That way they can asses the damage and take care of the deer.  As you’re on the open road this fall, highway patrol says it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for wildlife on the road and in the ditches.. and slow down when possible.


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