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Up to 74,000 deer-related road accidents expected this year: Here’s how to avoid a crash

PUBLISHED: 14:41 25 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:55 25 October 2018

Drivers are being warned about deer jumping into traffic. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Drivers are being warned about deer jumping into traffic. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

jcrader

The changes to the clocks this weekend means deer movement will coincide with peak commuting hours, increasing the likelihood of motorists seeing and colliding with a deer.

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

This is the advice they are giving to drivers:

• 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 so be alert if you see one at first.

• 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.

Around two million deer are currently living wild in the UK. October through to December is considered a high-risk period as deer will be on the move for the autumn mating season, also known as the rut.

The highest risk of a deer-vehicle collision occurring is said to be between sunset and midnight, and the hours shortly before and after sunrise.

Across the UK it is estimated that there could be up to 74,000 deer-related motor vehicle accidents this year alone, resulting in 400 to 700 human injuries and 20 deaths.

If you see an injured deer on the roadside the advice is to:

• Pull over at the next safe place.

• Call the Police. They will deal with road safety issues and have access to a specialist who will know the best course of action for the animal if it is alive.

If you hit a deer while driving, the advice, in order of priority, is to:

• Keep yourself and anyone with you as safe as you can.

• Park your car in the safest place with hazard lights on. Consider using it to also warn other road users.

• Call an ambulance if human injuries warrant it.

• Call the Police.

The organisations ask that you remember not to approach live deer as doing so may cause them to run across traffic causing another accident.

If you need to report a deer vehicle collision or to find out more on safety advice you can do so at www.deeraware.com

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