Deer Road Crashes

Dos and don'ts

16 May 2008

a road sign warning of deer Drivers who ignore deer warning signs or drive at speed along rural roads at this time of year make themselves an endangered species, warns the AA. More than 150 people are killed or injured each year in road accidents with deer 1.

May, the time when young deer disperse from their breeding areas, is one of the most perilous times of the year on the road, with reported incidents 25 per cent higher than other peaks during the year 2.

Every year, between 40,000 and 75,000 deer are killed in collisions on UK roads, around five per cent of the total deer population, causing £11 million damage to vehicles. In a sample of 34 English local authorities where deer-vehicle collision data is available, Hampshire tops the table with an average of 16 injured-motorist incidents a year, followed by Essex and Suffolk, both with 14.

Deer road accident hotspots include the A134 in Thetford Forest, A22 in Ashdown Forest, B4506 in Ashridge Forest, A4136 in the Forest of Dean, and the M27 between Southampton and Portsmouth.

"Drivers who find a deer caught in their headlights face an instant and impossible dilemma: do they swerve and risk a more serious crash, or do they suffer the trauma of killing a deer and severely damage their cars?" says Andrew Howard, the AA's head of road safety.

"Their best bet is to heed the warning signs, put up where accidents have happened or animals are known to cross, and to always drive at a speed that gives you time to react to what may suddenly appear in the road.

Drivers need to understand a little about deer, to think about how they can change their driving to avoid them, and to understand what to do if they do hit and injure one."

10 safety tips for dealing with deer »

Notes to editors

1 A scooter crash that killed two people in Cornwall in March is being investigated as a deer accident.

2 Statistics from the Deer Initiative's Deer-Vehicle Collisions England Report 2003-2005.


16 May 2008