Beware deer on rural roads as the autumn rutting season is in full swing, warns landowners’ organisation CLA East.
Motorists driving through heavily wooded or forested stretches of the countryside need to slow down and stay alert in order to avoid the dangers caused by deer wandering on to rural roads.
The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers, and rural businesses, has issued the warning with the autumn breeding season now under way. This period of heightened activity which continues during December, sees testosterone-filled male deer become more territorial and aggressive, and young deer disperse from their breeding areas.
The eastern region is particularly prone to deer-related accidents, with the Deer Initiative naming the B1106, A1066, A134, B1107, A1065 and A11 in and around Thetford Forest as some of the nation’s biggest accident hotspots.
CLA East regional surveyor Tim Woodward said: “You really need to expect the unexpected when driving through woodland areas at this time of the year. Very often, deer can appear as if from nowhere and can either freeze in your headlights or panic and run across both lanes of traffic.
“With this in mind, it is vital to look for signs warning of the dangers of deer on the road and slow down accordingly. These can be large animals and hitting them at speed will not only put your life in danger, but the lives of your passengers and other road users.
“If a deer appears in your path, don’t swerve in case you lose control and hit another car or go off road. Stick to your path and ensure your headlights are dipped. Also, be prepared to stop – where there is one deer, there are often others preparing to cross the road as well.
“If you do hit the animal, find a safe place to stop, put your hazard lights on, and report the incident to the Police via 101 – they can also ensure someone is called to deal with the deer if it is injured.
“Any accidents involving a deer and other road users should be reported immediately to the Police by using 999.”
Information regarding deer road casualties or deer related traffic collisions can also be reported to the National Deer-Vehicle Collisions Project website: www.deercollisions.co.uk.