The Deer Initiative

Highways England and The Deer Initiative have joined forces to warn motorists...


Published date: 15/05/2018

Highways England and The Deer Initiative have joined forces to warn motorists about the heightened risk of deer-vehicle collisions at this time of year - and what to do if you are involved in one, or see an injured deer on the roadside.

Across the UK it is estimated that there could be up to 74,000 deer-related motor vehicle accidents this year alone, resulting in 400 to 700 human injuries and 20 deaths. Deer are particularly active along roadside verges in the spring, especially at dawn and dusk. They rarely travel alone, so when motorists see one there are likely more nearby.

Highways England and The Deer Initiative are offering advice to drivers on what to do if you see an injured deer on the roadside or hit a deer while driving.


Pull over at the next safe place.

Call the Police. They will deal with road safety issues and have access to a specialist who will know the best course of action for the animal if it is alive.


Keep yourself and anyone with you as safe as you can.

Park your car in the safest place with hazard lights on. Consider using it to also warn other road users.

Call an ambulance if human injuries warrant it.

Call the Police. 

Usually it is best: 

Not to approach live deer. Doing so may cause them to run across traffic causing another accident.

Not to move or handle live deer, you may be injured if they struggle.

Not to try to keep the deer warm. Covering its head/eyes may keep it calmer if there is a long wait but see “approach live deer” above.

Senior principle environmental advisor at Highways England, Tony Sangwine said: “Safety is our top priority and we want drivers to complete their journeys safely and without incident. We work closely with The Deer Initiative to warn motorists about the risks caused by deer, when they suddenly appear on the road, particularly at both dawn and dusk. “As well as taking caution this spring with active deer we are calling on those travelling over the May bank holiday to plan their journeys and check conditions before they set out, and to make sure they have checked their vehicle before setting off on long journeys.”

Almost half of all breakdowns are caused by simple mechanical problems which could be avoided with simple checks and nearly a quarter are caused by tyre problems. Meanwhile, around 22 motorists broke down each day during July and August last year because they had run out of fuel.

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

The Deer Aware website exists to offer basic advice on how to avoid a collision and to collect data on the number of accidents. Its research is the only national effort to collect data that could be used to save lives - the information you submit is an essential part of this important effort.

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