Top tips to steer clear of deer danger

Deer are more mobile during the breeding season which increases the risk of drivers hitting them as

Deer are more mobile during the breeding season which increases the risk of drivers hitting them as they cross roads. - Credit: GEM Motoring Assist supplied

The deer breeding season is under way and that means drivers need to be extra vigilant with a greater risk of collisions.

It is estimated up to 75,000 deer are killed each year in road collisions, 10 to 20 people die as a result, while industry estimates damage to vehicles costs at least £17m.

Road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging drivers to take extra care in places where deer are common for, during the breeding season over the coming weeks, deer are more mobile than usual, bringing them on to roads and increasing the risk of collisions.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: 'We encourage drivers to be extra observant, especially as the mornings and evenings get darker. Be ready to take appropriate avoiding action if you come across a deer on the road ahead.

'Periods of highest deer activity tend to occur at dawn and dusk, coinciding with the morning and evening rush hour, increasing collision risks in areas where deer are common.'

Experts believe the UK deer population numbers more than two million, and research from the RSPCA shows around 75,000 are involved in vehicle collisions each year, with 10,000 killed instantly.

GEM has six simple tips for drivers to reduce risk from deer collisions:

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Take note of deer warning signs. These are placed in locations where wild animal crossings are likely, so keep your speed down and be ready to encounter a deer at very short notice.

Be particularly watchful at dawn and dusk, when deer are most active.

If you spot one animal, it's likely there may be others following, so don't speed up and assume the danger has passed.

Remember the importance of always being able to stop – on your side of the road – in the distance you can see to be clear ahead. But also be ready to react if a deer leaps out right in front of you.

Ideally, we want to avoid any sort of collision but swerving to avoid a deer could prove a very dangerous action if it leads to a collision with another vehicle.

If you hit a deer, stop somewhere safe and report the collision to the police, who can organise professional veterinary assistance.

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