The Deer Initiative

Peak time for Deer Vehicle Collisions


Published date: 14/10/2013

 The Deer Initiative is warning motorists that collisions between deer and vehicles increase in England and Wales at this time of year. Across the UK it's estimated there could be between 40,000 - 74,000 deer-related motor vehicle accidents a year, resulting in 400 to 700 human injuries and about 20 deaths, with a cost of over £17m. “The combined economic impact of injury accidents and car damage is likely to exceed £50 million per annum.” October through to December is considered a high-risk time as many deer will be on the move for the autumn mating season, also known as the rut. On-going highest risk times are from sunset to midnight, and the hours shortly before and after sunrise.

The DI says be ‘Deer Aware’.

Top tips are:

Be aware that further deer may well cross after the one you may have notice, as deer will more often move around in groups than alone.

After dark, do use full-beams when there is no opposing traffic. The headlight beam will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway and provide greater driver reaction time. BUT, when a deer or other animals is noted on the road, dim your headlights as animals startled by the beam may ‘freeze’ rather than leaving the road.

Don’t over-swerve to avoid a deer. If a collision with the animal seems inevitable, then hit it while maintaining full control of your car. The alternative of swerving into oncoming traffic or a ditch could be even worse. An exception here may be motorcyclists, who are at particular risk when in direct collisions with animals.

Only break sharply and stop if there is no danger of being hit by following traffic.

Try to come to stop as far in front of the animal(s) as possible to enable it to leave the roadside without panic.

Report any deer-vehicle collisions to the police, who will contact the local person who can best help with an injured deer at the roadside.

Do not approach an injured deer yourself it may be dangerous.

If you need to report a Deer Vehicle Collision or to find out more on safety advice please visit

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