Road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist is advising drivers to take extra care in areas where deer are common. The rutting (breeding) season means deer are more mobile than usual, bringing them onto roads and increasing the risk of collisions.
GEM road safety officer Neil Worth says: “We encourage drivers to be extra observant, and to be ready to take appropriate avoiding action if they come across a deer on the road ahead.
“Periods of highest deer activity tend to occur at dawn and dusk, coinciding with the morning and evening rush hour, increasing collision risks in areas where deer are common.”
Experts believe the UK deer population numbers more than two million, and research from the RSPCA shows around 75,000 deer are involved in vehicle collisions each year1, with 10,000 killed instantly.
The human death toll from deer collisions ranges between 10 and 20 annually, with an additional count of around 450 serious injuries. Industry estimates put the cost of damage to vehicles alone to be at least £17 million.
GEM offers five simple tips for drivers to reduce risk from deer collisions:
Take note of deer warning signs. These are placed in locations where wild animal crossings are likely, so keep your speed down and be ready to encounter a deer at very short notice.
Don’t assume it’s just a countryside problem. Deer populations have risen and spread in recent years. Although rural areas tend to present the highest risk, deer sightings have become increasingly common in more urban locations – such as on roundabouts, in parks and cemeteries.
Be particularly watchful at dawn and dusk, when deer are most active.
If you spot one animal, it’s likely there may be others following, so don’t speed up and assume the danger has passed.
If you do hit a deer, report it to the police, even if you’re uninjured and your car isn’t damaged, as the deer may be fatally injured and suffering.
Remember the importance of always being able to stop – on your side of the road – in the distance you can see to be clear ahead. But also be ready to react if a deer leaps out right in front of you.
Ideally we want to avoid any sort of collision, but swerving to avoid a deer could prove a very dangerous action if it leads to a collision with another vehicle.