As we enter the dark winter months a warning has been issued to drivers to be extra wary of deer on the roads.
Every year thousands of deer are involved in crashes along the country’s roads with the next three months being peak time for deer related accidents.
Three collisions have been reported along roads in Sussex already this month and the RSPCA has released some advice on how drivers can be ‘deer aware’.
A spokesman for the animal welfare charity said: “At this time of the year, the deer mating - or rutting - season is about to start, so from now until January is a peak time for traffic accidents involving deer
“We would urge drivers to slow down, take extra care and watch out for these animals for their own sake as well as the deers’.
“As days get shorter, busy traffic times coincide with dawn and the early part of the night when deer are most active and hardest to spot. In wooded areas in particular, there may be very little warning before one or several deer bolt across.”
The charity estimates 74,000 deer are involved in traffic accidents in Britain each year. More than ten people are killed and over 700 are injured either through direct collisions or swerving to avoid deer.
On October 12 the A281 Brighton Road, in Mannings Heath, was blocked after a car and a deer collided. Around the same time another crash involving a deer was reported on the A29 London Road near Fontwell.
Today (October 20) police attended another deer related collision on the B2028 Turners Hill Road, in Copthorne.
The spokesman continued: “In England the three most common species affected are fallow (40%), roe (32%) and muntjac (25%).
“A key to reducing the number and severity of these incidents is to get drivers to be ‘Deer Aware’ – to slow down and watch out when they see deer warning signs at the roadside.”
The charity has released the following advice on how to be deer aware:
- Even if you are in areas with no warning signs always stay alert for deer, particularly in heavily wooded areas where you may not see them coming.
- Take extra care during the high-risk periods of early mornings and early evenings.
- It’s really important to be aware that further deer may cross after the one/s you notice.
- Taking note of deer warning signs.
- Keeping your speed down. It’s ‘forty for a reason’ in areas with a high deer population
- Using headlights on high beam if there is no oncoming traffic. This will make deer easier to see by illuminating the eyes of any on the road BUT then dip the beams otherwise they may ‘freeze’.
- Trying to come to a stop as far in front of the deer as you can. This will mean the deer, as well as any others with it can leave the roadside without panic or distress.
The RSPCA is encouraging the public to report any injured deer on 0300 1234 999.