With the UK deer population at high levels, Hertfordshire County Council is reminding drivers to be extra vigilant on the roads this autumn.
At this time of year the male fallow deer is unpredictable and can travel several miles a day in search of a mate, crossing roads in the process. The most common times for the male deer to roam are at dawn and dusk, which in late September and October coincides with the morning and evening rush-hours.
The deer population in Hertfordshire, which mainly consists of fallow deer and muntjac deer, is widespread across the county with particular concentrations in pockets of woodland countryside. Although deer are present in residential areas it is where major roads pass near wooded areas, with traffic moving at high speeds, that there is a particular risk of collisions with crossing animals.
Phil Bibby, Executive Member for Highways and Transport at Hertfordshire County Council said: ‘We would urge motorists to be cautious and drive a little slower at this time of the year, especially on rural and semi-rural roads. We have taken steps to erect deer fences in locations which are known migration crossing points, especially on major new roads, but we obviously cannot protect every road.’
Basic safety tips to help motorists avoid collisions with deer include:
- Reduce your speed in high risk areas such as wooded areas close to major roads
- Be extra cautious in areas where you see a deer crossing road sign
- Use your headlights on full beam, when safe to do so
- Be aware that more deer may cross after the first one you see
- Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path. Don’t over-swerve to avoid hitting it as you may potentially cause a more serious collision with other road users
- Leave a safe distance to the vehicle in front in case they have to take action to avoid a deer
- Be aware that stopping distances are often longer at this time of year due to damp roads and fallen leaves
For more advice on staying safe on the road visit https://bds.org.uk/information-advice/about-deer/the-deer-rut.