Be deer aware when driving this autumn

Motorists warned about the heightened risk of deer-vehicle collisions

Highways England and The Deer Initiative have joined forces again to warn motorists about the heightened risk of deer-vehicle collisions during the autumn.

There could be up to 74,000 deer-related motor vehicle accidents across the UK this year alone. This might result in 400 to 700 human injuries and 20 deaths.

Estimates are that there are two million deer living wild in the UK.


High-risk period

The high-risk period is October through to December. Deer will be on the move for the autumn mating season, also known as the rut. The highest risk of a deer-vehicle collision is between sunset and midnight, and the hours shortly before and after sunrise.

Senior principle environmental advisor at Highways England, Tony Sangwine said:

“Safety is our top priority, which is why we care about people’s journeys. We are working with The Deer Initiative to warn motorists about the risks caused by deer, when they suddenly appear on the road, particularly at both dawn and dusk.

“With most deer movement coinciding with key commuting hours, we are urging drivers to be more aware during this time of year so that they can complete their journeys safely and without incident.”


New drivers and city dwellers

Recently qualified and city drivers should take extra precaution when venturing onto unfamiliar roads. Especially those in more rural areas.

Highways England’s advice on staying safe is:

  • when you see deer warning signs or are travelling through a heavily wooded or forested stretch of road, check your speed and stay alert
  • if your headlights are on, use full-beams when you can; but dip them if you see deer, as they may ‘freeze’
  • more deer may follow the first one you see
  • be prepared to stop – try not to suddenly swerve to avoid a deer. Hitting oncoming traffic or another obstacle could be even worse
  • if you have to stop, use your hazard warning lights
  • do not approach an injured deer – it could be dangerous


Deer Aware

Deer Aware will be running a safety campaign on social media for drivers throughout October and into November.

Drivers are encouraged to follow @Deer_Aware on twitter or Facebook, or visit their website for hotspot notifications during this period.

If you are involved in a deer vehicle collision and need help please contact the police.

If you need to report a deer vehicle collision or to find out more on safety advice please visit deer aware.

The website exists to offer basic advice on how to avoid a collision and to collect data on the number of accidents.

Deer Aware research is the only national effort to collect data that could be used to save lives – the information you submit is an essential part of this important effort.