Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Deer hazard on the road: how you can help

As the evenings draw in, and the mornings get darker, the dusky hours start to coincide with our journey to and from work or to take and pick up the kids from school. In the AONB, particularly in the wooded areas, we may meet a deer on the road unexpectedly. Hundreds of people are injured in collisions with deer each year, and of course many more deer are injured as well.

You can help greatly by telling the Deer Aware project about any deer you see on the road that have been run over. The link to the web site is here: http://deeraware.com/index.php/research/incident-report

Here are the top tips for avoiding collisions with deer and other wildlife:

Slow down for wildlife and expect to see deer on the roads in the dusk and dawn.
Seen one? look for another! Roe deer and Fallow deer move around in groups, tending to cross roads all in one go.
Use your lights.  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 animal 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 hitting 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.
Cars behind you.  Only break sharply and stop if there is no danger of being hit by following traffic. Try to come to a stop as far in front of the animals as possible to enable it to leave the roadside without panic.

An injured deer in the road is a real hazard, so if you see one please call 999 and inform the police. There are a number of local volunteers who can attend the incident and put the deer down humanely. All the police forces have their numbers and will ring round.