deer crossing rutting seasonAs the Autumn deer mating season gets underway, UK motorists are being warned of some alarming statistics regarding the number of deer related accidents in the UK.

Working in partnership to raise public awareness of the issues surrounding deer on UK roads the Highways Agency and The Deer Initiative estimate that there may be as many as 74,000 deer related motoring accidents every year in the UK. In addition to this staggeringly high number of accidents they also estimate that the accidents cause 400 to 700 human injuries a year with as many as 20 deaths being attributable to accidents involving deer.

As the annual deer rut begins, deer are more likely to be on the move and not with road safety in mind. The most common hours for deer to be on the move is from sunset to midnight and for the first couple of hours after dawn in the morning.

Highways England has issued the following advice to UK motorists;

  • 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 will also be conducting a social media campaign during the rutting season to make drivers more aware of the risks to the road user and their advice on how to avoid a collision with deer can be viewed here.

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