Oh deer! Drivers warned to be on high alert for Bambi this autumn

Highways England and The Deer Initiative tell drivers to keep their eyes peeled while on the road

You’ve probably not given much thought to deer-related motor accidents recently, so you may be surprised to learn there could be an estimated 74,000 deer-related motor accident this year alone.

This could result in between 400 and 700 people being injured and as many as 20 deaths due to a run-in with a deer this autumn.

Highways England and The Deer Initiative have joined forces for a second year to alert drivers to the potential danger of colliding with a frisky deer.

October to December is considered high-risk periods as deer are on the move for the autumn mating season – know as the rut.

Drivers are warned to be particularly cautious between sunset and midnight as well as the hours just before and after sunrise.

“With most deer movement coinciding with key commuting hours, we are urging drivers to be more aware during this time of year so that they can complete their journeys safely and without incident,” said senior principle environmental adviser at Highways England, Tony Sangwine.

With some two million deer living wild in the UK, newly qualified and city drivers are asked to take extra precaution when venturing onto unfamiliar roads, especially those in more rural areas.

Highways England’s advice on staying safe on the road:

  • When you see deer warning signs or are travelling through a heavily wooded or forested stretch of road, check your speed and stay alert
  • If your headlights are on, use full-beams when you can; but dip them if you see deer, as they may ‘freeze’
  • More deer may follow the first one you see
  • Be prepared to stop - try not to suddenly swerve to avoid a deer. Hitting oncoming traffic or another obstacle could be even worse
  • If you have to stop, use your hazard warning lights
  • Do not approach an injured deer – it could be dangerous.

For more information on the Deer Aware safety campaign check out #DeerAware on Twitter and Facebook. 

The team are also asking the public to report any deer accidents they see at www.deeraware.com to help them collate data on the number of accidents in the UK.