Last week in a tweet East Sussex County Council renewed calls for drivers to “Be deer aware” when driving. Traffic collisions with deer can result in damage to vehicles, serious injury or death for both animals and drivers. There are a significant number of collisions with deer in East Sussex, particularly in the Ashdown Forest area. Drivers need to remember to be aware and take extra caution, particularly during the spring and autumn months. Below are some fantastic tips on the topic from the Council.
What to do if you hit a deer:
- Remain calm and keep yourself and anyone with you as safe as you can.
- Park your car in a safe place with your hazard lights on.
- Do not touch the deer. It could cause further distress or cause it to run back into the road. An injured deer will not benefit from efforts to sit with it or keep it warm.
Telephone the emergency services on 999:
- If anyone is injured.
- Or there is a danger to others (e.g.) a deer(s), are alive or found dead, on the road or is a danger to traffic.
Telephone the non-emergency line on 101:
- If the deer is injured and on the side of the road, not causing danger to others.
The police will deal with any traffic issues and have access to specialist Deer Wardens who will know the best course of action to take if the deer is still alive.
How to prevent hitting a deer:
When are deer around?
Deer cross the roads all year round. Their presence peaks in April to May when young deer are born and from October to November for the autumn mating season. Take particular care at dawn and dusk.
Seen one, then look for another?
If a deer crosses in front of you, it is likely that another will follow. If it is safe to do so, slow right down or stop and wait. Deer are unpredictable so drive with caution.
Deer often cross the roads in the same locations. Deer warning signs are put up where deer are known to cross regularly. When you see a warning sign or are travelling through a heavily wooded stretch of road, you should slow down, stay alert and be prepared to stop.
Use your lights
After dark, use full-beam when there is no opposing traffic. The headlight beam will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a road and help you to spot them.
When a deer or other animal is seen on the road, dip your headlights as animals startled by the beam may cause them to ‘freeze’ rather than leave the road.
For more fantastic advice on this topic, we recommend you visit Deer Aware’s website.