Watch out for deer on the road

Watch out for deer on the road

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:59am 15th May 2019.

5 deer found dead on the A35.

Highways England is warning motorists to be on the lookout for deer roaming onto Dorset's roads.

The advice comes after five deer were found dead at one location on the A35 recently.

Figures suggest around 400 people are injured in deer-related accidents each year, and potentially around 20 people killed.

Deer collisions peak at this time of year as animals cross roads looking for new territories.

The highest risk of collisions is between sunset and midnight, and the hours shortly before and after sunrise.

roe deer

So today The Deer Initiative and Highways England have teamed up to give advice to drivers.

Leonardo Gubert, Senior Ecologist at Highways England, the Government company responsible for motorways and major A roads, said: "Sadly, the outcome of a collision involving a deer can be much more catastrophic than vehicle damage or injury to the animal.

"You may be well-travelled and on a well-known route without a previous sighting, but there may be deer hidden in nearby foliage or woodlands and some species of deer can gather often in large groups; you may have seen one and avoided it but others may follow and unexpectedly dart out into the roadway"

Deer signs are placed at locations where the animals are known to be active and are likely to cross; they help inform drivers of the need to slow down to give more time to react.

The advice to drivers is:

  1. When you see deer warning signs or are travelling through a heavily wooded or forested stretch of road, check your speed and stay alert
  2. If your headlights are on, use full-beams when you can, but dip them if you see deer as they may 'freeze' on the spot instead of leaving the road
  3. If you see a deer, look for another. They often gather in herds and follow each other as they move through the landscape.
  4. Only brake sharply and stop if there is no danger of being hit by following traffic, use your hazard lights. Try to come to a stop as far away from an animal as possible to enable it to leave the roadside without panic. Try not to suddenly swerve to avoid a deer. Hitting oncoming traffic or another obstacle could lead to a more serious collision.
  5. If you must stop, use your hazard warning lights

If you are involved in a deer vehicle collision and require assistance please contact the police.

If you need to report a deer vehicle collision or to find out more on safety advice please visit

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