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Do be aware, deer!

23 September 2010

Since January 2009, there have been more than 2,000 deer-vehicle collisions recorded on the UK’s motorways and A-roads. Over the whole road network, the Deer Initiative estimates there are 74,000 road accidents a year involving deer.

Hitting a large animal like a deer can kill or seriously injure you and cause significant damage to your car. It can also be very distressing. All road users are advised to heed warning signs at the side of the road.

Deer and drivers are most at risk in autumn and spring, particularly around dawn and dusk, when it is common to see the animals on and around the roads. They are often seen in wooded areas but can appear anywhere.

The Highways Agency advises drivers to:

  • Check your speed and stay alert when you see deer warning signs.
  • Be prepared to stop. Try not to suddenly swerve to avoid a deer. A collision with oncoming traffic or another obstacle could be even worse.
  • If you have to stop, use your hazard warning lights.
  • Use full beams where possible in the dark - but dip them when you see deer as they may ‘freeze’.
  • Look out for more if you see one – deer often travel together.
  • If you hit a deer (or witness a collision) and someone may be injured, or if vehicles or deer in the road are a risk to road safety, then you should treat this as an emergency and ring 999 for the Police or Ambulance service immediately. You can use an Emergency Roadside Telephone if one is available.
  • Do not approach an injured deer – it could be dangerous.
  • To report any injured deer to the RSPCA, please ring the 24-hour cruelty and advice line on 0300 1234 999.

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