Beware of the Deer

Published 09 October 2019

It's rutting season and IAM Roadsmart has issued some sensible advice about the likely presence of deer on country roads this autumn.

As always, observation and anticipation are essential to safe driving.

According to Govuk, deer are at higher risk between sunset to midnight and also the hours before and after sunrise. October through to December is considered a high-risk period. 

If you see warning signs for deer (or other wild animals), slow down and be on high alert. It is likely they will cross the road in this area.

Deer are herd animals so if you see one, it’s likely there are more. Stay vigilant, if one steps out in front of your car, more may follow.

Be prepared to stop and try to warn following drivers with early brake lights or hazard indicators.

Try not to swerve to avoid hitting deer. You may drive into a ditch or oncoming traffic.

You will most likely brake hard to avoid colliding with an animal, so be aware that traffic behind may not be as alert as you.

If you hit a deer or see an injured animal on the road or roadside, drive to a safe place and pull over, call the police and be precise about where the animal is located. Do not approach the animal - it may cause further injury or another accident

An IAM spokesman said: "A collision with something as large as a deer will be catastrophic. It will likely cause injury to vehicle occupants and itself. It will definitely cause damage to your vehicle, even if it’s as small as a Muntjac. Slow down a little and remember we are sharing the wildlife’s habitat and not the other way around.”

Always worth considering taking an IAM Roadmart Advanced Course

Deer Bushey Park 2


MarkWintle    on 10 October 2019

Here in south East Dorset there are vast numbers of deer, mainly sika but also other types. There are so many that a lot of culling takes place (at least 1200 are culled in the Isle of Purbeck alone annually) and they can be seen in herds during the day by the side of main roads. The answer on some roads is proper deer fencing, something that was done on the A31 in the New Forest years ago in places but now needs doing on the A35 especially on the Puddletown bypass where a number of deer have been killed recently. It's common to see them by the side of the Upton bypass a 70 mph dual carriageway (also A35) right through the day. Just off the bypass on the Sandford road the fence is 12ft high and it's common to see herds of deer there any time of day but they're contained within a massive disused factory site.

Marcus T.    on 16 October 2019

A year ago, early one morning a large stag jumped out of the trees in front of my wife, whilst she was driving her three month old Mazda. Travelling at 40mph, the damage to the car was severe. Rather shaken, my wife spoke to her Insurers. They said that deer collisions are becoming very common. The deceased stag was taken away by another passing motorist, who I expect was kept in venison for months.

Edited by Marcus T. on 16/10/2019 at 15:07

Chas j    on 3 January 2020

Great post with some great advice thank you.
Plenty of deer on the verge of the a35 puddletown bypass this afternoon however plenty of idiotic car and motor bikes taking no precaution or notice in fact the opposite speeding up and pointlessly over taking just before the dual carriageway ends and merges into a single file lane. I despair sadly No shortage of impatient utter m****s on our roads who pay no attention to the unpredictable risks deer pose to inattentive road users. Rant over.

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