Watch out for deer on the roads
Motorists are being warned that collisions between deer and vehicles tend to peak at this time of year.
With night falling earlier, the peak commuting time coincides with deer coming out to feed on grass verges near roadsides.
“From October to December, there’s a higher risk of deer on the road as they move down to lower ground for both food and shelter,” Jamie Hammond, the SNH Deer Management Officer, said. “The highest risk is from sunset to midnight, and shortly before and after sunrise. Particularly in these peak times, we advise motorists to slow down and watch for deer crossing roads. Be aware that if you’re driving near woods, they can suddenly appear before you have time to brake. If you do hit a deer, report it to the police even if you’re uninjured and your car isn’t damaged, as the deer may be fatally injured and suffering.”
Other tips include:
• Try not to swerve suddenly to avoid hitting a deer. A collision into oncoming traffic could be even worse.
• Only brake sharply and stop if there is no danger of being hit by following or oncoming traffic. Try to come to a stop as far away from the animals as possible to allow them to leave the roadside without panic – and use your hazard warning lights.
• Be aware that more deer may cross after the first one or two you see, as they often travel in groups.
• After dark, use full beams when there is no oncoming traffic, to illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway and give you more time to react. But dim your headlights when you see a deer or other animal on the road to avoid startling it.
• Report any deer-vehicle collisions to the police, who will contact the person in the area who can best help with an injured deer at the roadside. Do not approach an injured deer yourself, as it may be dangerous.
Over the past 50 years, the number and range of wild deer in Scotland have increased, while the volume of road traffic has almost doubled. This combination has led to higher deer-vehicle collision rates across the country, with the greatest increases occurring in Aberdeenshire, Fife and the Central Belt. This corresponds with the rise in the populations of roe deer, which are highly adaptable to lowland habitats.
A report released earlier this year, jointly commissioned by SNH and Transport Scotland, revealed that collisions between vehicles and deer have increased by 10% in Scotland since previous figures were collated. It showed that from January 2013 to December 2015 over 4,600 recorded collisions between vehicles and deer on Scottish roads were submitted. Taking into account the many incidents which go unreported, the true figure could be as high as 9,000 a year, resulting in 50 to 100 human injuries.
Added: 06 December 2017
Back to News