Drivers have been warned to keep their eyes peeled for deer when out on the roads.
The worsening driving conditions, the nights drawing in and the fact that it is the annual breeding season for red, sika and fallow deer all combine to create an increased risk of collisions with the animals, National Highways and the British Deer Society have both warned.
The clocks going back recently also adds to the risks, research from the DeerAware campaign has revealed. This is because more drivers now find themselves out on the road at the time when deer are generally most active – the period from sunset to midnight and just before and after sunrise.
National Highways Head of Road User Safety Jeremy Phillips said: “This time of year we see an increase in the number of deer collisions and our advice is to take care while driving and look out for deer. Drivers may easily be caught unaware on roads they travel everyday by the sudden appearance of deer in their path, but there are some simple tips they can use to help reduce the risk”.
To help drivers avoid collisions with deer, the following tips have been issued:
- Remain alert and check your speed if you see any deer warning signs or are driving through a stretch of road that is heavily wooded.
- If the conditions require your headlights to be on, use full-beams where it is appropriate. However, if you do see deer, dip them – otherwise, it could cause them to ‘freeze’ instead of moving on.
- Deer will often be in herds and follow each other Therefore, if you see one, keep your eyes peeled for others in the vicinity.
- You should only brake suddenly and stop if there is no risk of being hit by any traffic behind you. You should also try to stop as far from the animal as you can to help it move on without causing panic. If you are able to, avoid sudden swerves, as hitting oncoming traffic or other obstacles could result in a more serious incident.
- If you stop, turn on your hazard lights.
The following advice has been offered should you find yourself in a collision with a deer:
- Keep yourself and any passengers as safe as possible.
- Call the police and, if human injuries require it, an ambulance.
- Park your car in a safe location with the hazard lights switched on.
You can find out more by visiting Deer Aware.
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This time of year we see an increase in the number of deer collisions and our advice is to take care while driving