The number of deer-vehicle collisions in Indiana increased by about 25 percent over five years, according to State Farm Insurance. That number beats the national increase of roughly 15 percent.
Ken Thomas knows about the statistics all too well. On a November morning two years ago, a deer darted in front of his car as he drove to Indianapolis for his daughter's swimming meet.
The accident totaled the front of his car.
“It seemed like it just jumped out of the shadows. It just jumped into the pathway of my lights,” said Thomas.
State Farm agent Calvin Johnson said Ken Thomas’ story is becoming more common.
"With new home construction, in areas where deers were heavily populated, with all the construction, it’s pushing deers out of their natural habitat,” Johnson said.
And they end up along stretches of road all over Michiana, like the Indiana Toll Road.
"This is probably our busiest time of the year,” said Angela Handshoe, trooper with the Indiana State Police.
“We have a lot of car deer crashes,” she added.
Most accidents happen when it’s dark out. High beam lights should be used when visibility is limited, Handshoe said.
For Ken Thomas, experience is all the advice he needs.
"You never plan on running into a deer,” Thomas said. “But I would say plan on running into a deer!"
“When you see those deer signs--in especially October and November--this is the season," he added.