Drivers warned to look out for deer crossing roads in Suffolk and Essex this autumn

Stock image of a deer. Picture: ANDREW MUTIMER

Stock image of a deer. Picture: ANDREW MUTIMER - Credit:

Motorists are being urged to look out for deer on the region’s major road networks this autumn.

The season brings a heightened risk of crashes involving deer, Highways England are warning, as the animals are on the move for the autumn mating season.

Chiefs have joined forces with The Deer Initiative to reveal there could be up to 74,000 deer-related car accidents during 2017 alone. Predictions suggest such collisions could result in 400 and 700 injuries and 20 deaths this year.

Highways England’s senior principle environmental advisor Tony Sangwine said:

“Safety is our top priority, which is why we care about people’s journeys.

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“We are working with The Deer Initiative to warn motorists about the risks caused by deer, when they suddenly appear on the road, particularly at both dawn and dusk.

“With most deer movement coinciding with key commuting hours, we are urging drivers to be more aware during this time of year so that they can complete their journeys safely and without incident.”

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October through to December is considered a high-risk period and the worst time for possible crashes is between sunset and midnight, and the hours shortly before and after sunrise.

With some two million deer living wild in the UK, newly qualified and city drivers are asked to take extra precaution when venturing onto unfamiliar roads, especially those in rural areas.

Highways England’s advice on staying safe is:

• When you see deer warning signs or are travelling through a heavily wooded or forested stretch of road, check your speed and stay alert.

• If your headlights are on, use full-beams when you can but dip them if you see deer, as they may ‘freeze.

• More deer may follow the first one you see.

• Be prepared to stop. Try not to suddenly swerve to avoid a deer. Hitting oncoming traffic or another obstacle could be even worse.

• If you have to stop, use your hazard warning lights.

• Do not approach an injured deer – it could be dangerous.

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