GEM Motoring Assist has some advice for the UK's motorists as the deer come out.
Road Safety leaders GEM Motoring Assist is warning drivers of deer coming onto roads at this time of year – a time when they're much more common with it being the rutting (or breeding) season.
The UK has a deer population in the region of two million – RSPCA research shows that 75,000 deer are involved in vehicle collisions each year, with 10,000 killed instantly. meanwhile the human death toll from deer collisions is between 10-20 each year, with vehicle damages estimated to cost at least £11 million annually.
"We encourage drivers to be extra observant, but we recommend that you 'don't veer for a deer', purely because of the risks that go with a sudden change of direction while driving," said GEM chief executive Neil Worth.
"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."
GEM's five simple tips for drivers to reduce risk from deer collisions
- 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.
GEM answers your deer questions
What should you do if a deer jumps out in front of you?
"If you spot a deer or other animal on the road ahead, stay in control, reduce your speed as much as possible and steer straight. Don't veer for deer. By changing your direction quickly, you increase the risk of losing control, running off the carriageway and rolling your vehicle. This increases the likelihood of sustaining greater damage to your vehicle and serious injury."
What can I do to avoid hitting a deer?
"If you’re on an area where you can expect deer, scan the ditches and not just the road ahead of you. You may spot deer or other wildlife approaching the road and be able to take precautions. Where you see one deer, expect more. Slow down. The slower you go, the more time you have to react should you encounter any wildlife on the roadway. Watch for glowing eyes at night."
What time of year is most common for vehicle collisions with deer?
"From year to year, statistics show that collisions are consistently higher from now (mid October) into December."
What time of day are collisions with deer most common?
"Dusk and dawn are the most common times of day for deer to be on the move, but they can actually appear on the road or roadside at any time of day or night."