A day after southbound Interstate 5 was shut down because of a series of accidents caused by wildlife, a second deer prompted another I-5 crash within Bellingham city limits. On the same night, a third deer caused yet another freeway accident just north of Ferndale. According to a Washington State Patrol trooper, officials aren’t used to seeing so many deer-related accidents happen in such a short period of time.
In the first accident, which happened Monday, October 11, the vehicle that struck the deer ended up resulting in a slowdown that prompted another crash. Five cars were involved and firefighters had to close the road to clear up the debris. At least one person was injured. Thankfully, officials said, injuries were not serious. The second and third accidents resulted in no injuries.
Officials: Wildlife-Related Accidents Are Common, Be Cautious
In the Bellingham city area, officials registered at least four wildlife-involved accidents in 2021. All four incidents took place on Interstate 5. At least 18 other accidents involving wildlife reportedly took place on other Whatcom County roadways during the same period. Two of these accidents resulted in injuries.
Before 2021, Bellingham averaged about 22 wildlife-related accidents per year between 2016 and 2020. The rest of Whatcom County, however, averaged about 40 wildlife-related accidents per year during the same period, with 13 of these crashes resulting in injuries.
According to WSP officials, if you’re on the freeway and you see a deer, the most important thing is to stay calm and pay attention to the road around you.
“If you know what is around you and you know you can avoid a deer, you could decide it is best for you to change lanes. But if you have cars around you, that is not an option,” a WSP trooper told reporters.
If you encounter a deer at 2 a.m., the trooper added, it might be a good idea to change lanes as there are fewer cars around you. But the same won’t be the case during rush hour.
“The most important thing, and you’ve heard us say this before, is to make sure you are paying attention and not distracted by your phone or something else within your car so that you can see that deer and know what’s around you,” the trooper added.
For more on this accident and what officials are urging drivers to do to avoid accidents, follow this link.