Advice for motorists ahead of the clocks changing this weekend

Stay alert for deer on roads as darker evenings draw in, urges CLA East

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) in the East is issuing a seasonal reminder to motorists about the risks of deer on roads at this time of year as the darker evenings draw in.

Deer are most active during dawn and dusk which now coincides with the busiest times of day for traffic on the roads. The issue is compounded by the darker evenings coming at the same time as the rutting season for many deer species, between October and November, when deer are increasingly active.

It is estimated that annually the number of deer killed or injured on UK roads is likely to exceed 40,000 and may well be nearer 74,000. A collision with a deer can cause significant damage to a vehicle, and could result in serious injuries to drivers, passengers and the animals.

The CLA urges drivers to take note of the following advice:

  • When you see deer warning road signs or are travelling through a heavily wooded or forested stretch of road, check your speed and stay alert
  • If your headlights are on, use full-beams when you can, but dip them if you see deer as they may ‘freeze’
  • More deer may follow the first one you see, so keep vigilant
  • Be prepared to stop. Try not to suddenly swerve to avoid a deer. Hitting oncoming traffic or another obstacle could be even worse
  • If you have to stop, use your hazard warning lights

CLA East Regional Surveyor Tim Woodward said:

“It is incredibly important for all drivers to consider the risk of deer on roads as a collision can cause extremely serious accidents.

“A collision with a deer can happen at any time of year but with the clocks changing at the end of the month, the darker evenings increase the risk of the animals unexpectedly crossing roads and stepping straight into the line of oncoming traffic.

“There are now large numbers of muntjac, fallow, roe, red and Chinese water deer in the East of England, and they all have the potential to cause a traffic accident that could risk seriously injuring motorists and the animals themselves.

“If you see road signs warning of deer in the area it is important to slow down. If you see one deer stray into the road, it is common for it to be followed by several more so you should remain cautious.

“If you hit the animal, but the accident is not causing a danger to other road users and there are no injuries to motorists, find a safe place to stop and report the incident to the police via 101. They can ensure someone is called to deal with the deer if it is injured.

“If you’re involved in an accident involving a deer and other road users and it’s an emergency, you should report this immediately to the police by using 999.”