Take care on country roads as deer mating season approaches

Deer Season

Drivers are being advised to take extra care in areas where deer are common as their breeding season gets underway.

Drivers are being advised to take extra care in areas where deer are common as their breeding season gets underway.

According to road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist, deer will be more mobile than usual in the weeks ahead, coming onto the roads and increasing the risk of collisions.

GEM offers six simple tips for drivers to reduce the risk:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 in front of you.
  • Ideally, of course, you want to avoid any sort of collision, but swerving to avoid a deer could prove very dangerous and could cause a collision with other vehicles.

If you hit a deer, stop somewhere safe and report it to the police, who can organise professional veterinary assistance.

“We encourage drivers to be extra observant, especially as the mornings and evenings get darker,” GEM Road Safety Officer Neil Worth said.  “Periods of highest deer activity tend to coincide with the morning and evening rush hours, increasing collision risks in areas where deer are common.  Be ready to take appropriate avoiding action if you come across a deer on the road ahead.”

Experts believe the UK deer population numbers more than two million, and research from the RSPCA shows that around 75,000 deer are involved in vehicle collisions each year, with 10,000 killed instantly.  The human death toll from deer collisions ranges between 10 and 20 annually, and industry estimates put the cost of damage to vehicles at around £17 million.