Experts believe the UK deer population numbers more than two million and shocking research from the RSPCA shows around 75,000 deer are involved in vehicle collisions each year, with 10,000 killed instantly.
The human death toll from deer collisions ranges between 10 and 20 annually, with an additional count of around 450 serious injuries. This figure likely includes impact as well as the consequences of taking evasive action to avoid hitting the deer.
Industry estimates put the cost of damage to vehicles alone to be at least £17 million.
We welcome the following motoring tips from road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist relating to areas where deer are common because the rutting (breeding) season means deer are more mobile than usual, bringing them onto roads and increasing the risk of collisions.
Motoring Advice In Areas Where Deer Are Common
- 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
- Don’t assume it’s just a countryside problem. Deer populations have risen and spread in recent years. Although rural areas tend to present the highest risk, deer sightings have become increasingly common in more urban locations – such as on roundabouts, in parks and cemeteries
- 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
- If you do hit a deer, report it to the police, even if you’re uninjured and your car isn’t damaged – the deer may be fatally injured and suffering
- Control your speed and 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
- Always plan ahead and be ready to react if a deer leaps out right in front of you.
We all want to avoid any sort of collision but swerving to avoid a deer at speed can prove dangerous when this causes an accident with another vehicle and its occupants.
Take care and be extra vigilant in areas where deer might be close to the road (as in the photo).