Deer collisions

Deer on the road

Helping you to avoid accidents with deer

Twice a year, in May-June and October-November, there’s an increased chance of deer running into the road.

October-November is the rutting season when deer have only one thing on their minds, and May-June is the time of year when young deer disperse from breeding areas.

  • More than 42,000 deer are killed in collisions on the roads every year.
  • More than 400 car occupants are injured in accidents with deer .

Deer present a greater risk than other roadkill incidents because of their large size.

Deer colisions

Ten tips

If you understand a little about deer, you may be able to change your driving to avoid them, and will have a better idea about what to do if you hit and injure one.

  1. Accidents involving deer peak in May, October and November.
  2. The worst times of day are around sunrise and sunset to midnight.
  3. Some areas have bigger problems than others. Hotspots include: A134 in Thetford Forest, A22 in Ashdown Forest, B4506 in Ashridge Forest, A4136 in the Forest of Dean, and M27 between Southampton and Portsmouth.
  4. Be extra vigilant where you see 'deer' or 'wild animal' road signs.
  5. A deer can appear almost instantly – nature makes them hard to see and they don't follow the green cross code.
  6. Use your high-beam headlights (without dazzling other drivers) when it's dark, but dip them if you see a deer, otherwise it may freeze in your path.
  7. Don’t over-react or swerve excessively. It's safer to continue on your normal track rather than swerving or braking hard to try to avoid a deer.
  8. Bear in mind that if you do swerve and miss a deer (or any other animal), but hit something else, it will be very hard to prove that the deer ever existed.
  9. If you do hit a deer, try to stop somewhere safe.
  10. Report the accident to the police – they’ll contact someone who can help the injured deer.

National deer-vehicle collisions project

The Deer initiative is running a study aimed at getting as full a picture as possible of the extent of minor and major traffic accidents involving deer.

If you have information on a deer road casualty or deer-related traffic collision you can report it via the project website.

30 January 2017