Deer warning for drivers
Did you know that the deer population has risen to over 1.5 million and still rapidly increasing? There are 27 million cars in the UK so you would think that the likelihood of hitting a deer would be very small. There are around 74,000 deer collisions every year and since January 2009 there have been 2,000 reported incidents. As daylight savings time will change in the next few weeks, the Highways Agency are trying to make people more aware of deer related incidents.
Accidents involving deer are most likely to happen at dusk and dawn from autumn to spring, during this time they can be harder to spot especially as time changes and the days get shorter, thus getting darker sooner. Most places that have a strong deer population will have signs alerting drivers as they approach, this would be a good time to watch your speed and keep a lookout. If possible use full beams; this will make the deer freeze leaving you able to slow down as you pass.
If you were to ever see an injured deer, do not approach the animal and call the RSPCA or local animal shelter immediately so that it can be removed safely. In the event that you do collide with a deer, call emergency services as the road may need to be cleared to prevent any subsequent collisions. Soon new locations will be identified and made more aware of ‘deer hotspots’ and if you know you will be travelling during the times they are more likely to be around, then you can take precautions to prevent an accident.
Highways Agency deer advice*
Here are a few tips from the Highway Agency:
- Where there are deer warning signs, stay alert and check speedometer
- There may be more deer around when you have spotted only one, so slow down
- You may have to stop if you see a deer on the horizon so start reducing speed
- If possible avoid hitting the deer
- If full beam headlights are on, you may have to dip them as deer freeze when full beam lights are in use
- If you must stop, ensure to use hazard warning lights to alert other drivers
- Do not approach injured deer as they can be unpredictable, strong and angry so call for help
Apart from being aware of the road, there is not much else you can do to avoid hitting a deer. If you do hit a deer, then try not to swerve into the oncoming lane where there may be other vehicles travelling in the opposite direction.