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.
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.
- Accidents involving deer peak in May, October and November.
- The worst times of day are around sunrise and sunset to midnight.
- 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.
- Be extra vigilant where you see 'deer' or 'wild animal' road signs.
- A deer can appear almost instantly – nature makes them hard to see and they don't follow the green cross code.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you do hit a deer, try to stop somewhere safe.
- 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