With an estimated 74,000 deer-related traffic collisions in the UK every year, East Sussex County Council is reminding people to take care when driving on rural roads this spring.
The risk of encountering the animals increases in April and May when young deer are born, and motorists are urged to be aware that the animals may appear on the road unexpectedly at this time of year.
Deer cross roads all year round and there are warning signs in areas where deer are known to cross roads regularly. More signs have recently been installed across the county.
Drivers are advised to slow down, stay alert and be prepared to stop when they see a warning sign or are travelling through a heavily wooded stretch of road.
People should take particular care at night and around dawn and dusk when deer are most likely to venture out.
The Deer Initiative offers tips to help drivers stay safe on rural roads this spring.
Drivers are advised to use full-beam headlights at night if no other cars are around, as they will reflect the deer’s eyes, but dip their headlights when they see a deer to avoid startling it.
Deer often travel in groups so if drivers see one crossing the road they should slow down and drive with caution as others may follow.
Anyone who hits a deer is advised to stay calm, park in a safe place with hazard lights on and call the police on 101, or 999 if someone is injured or the deer is in the road.
People should not approach or try to comfort an injured deer, as it may make the animal more distressed or cause it to run back into the road.
As well as during the spring, deer are also more likely to be seen on rural roads from October to November for the autumn mating season.
More information and advice is available on the Deer Aware page on the council’s website at https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/roads-transport/roads/road-safety/deer