Scottish Natural Heritage is warning motorists to slow down and be on the lookout for deer on the road at this time of year.
Vehicle accidents involving deer peak around this time as young deer disperse to look for their own territories. To help reduce the risk of accidents, SNH has arranged with Transport Scotland for warning messages to be displayed on variable messaging signs on high-risk trunk roads across Scotland.
The messages are targeted on roads with higher rates of deer-vehicle collisions, covering the Central Belt around Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as around Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness and areas within Perth and Kinross. The signs display the warning message High Risk of Deer on the Road.
There are up to 9,000 collisions between motor vehicles and deer every year in Scotland, with on average of 65 of these likely to result in human injuries. The highest number of collisions occur in early evening through to late at night, with a slightly lower peak from 6 am to 9 am.
Driving tips to avoid deer include:
•Try not to suddenly swerve to avoid hitting a deer. A collision into oncoming traffic could be even worse.
•Only brake sharply and stop if there is no danger of being hit by following traffic. Try to come to a stop as far away from the animals as possible to allow them to leave the roadside without panic, and use your hazard warning lights.
•After dark, use full-beams (when there is no oncoming traffic) to illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway and give you more time to react. Dim your headlights when you see a deer or other animal on the road so you don’t startle it.
•Report any deer-vehicle collisions to the police, who will contact the local person who can best help with an injured deer at the roadside. Do not approach an injured deer yourself – it may be dangerous.
“Wild deer numbers have increased significantly over recent years,” Dr. Jochen Langbein, Deer Collision Consultant to SNH, said. “Roe deer in particular are spreading into parks and other green spaces close to the centre of cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen.”
Jamie Hammond, SNH Deer Management Officer, added: “It’s always important to be on the lookout for deer when driving, but we must be especially vigilant this time of year. The risk is higher from dusk through to early morning when deer are more active.
“We advise motorists to slow down and watch for deer crossing roads. Be especially alert near woods, where deer can suddenly appear and dart onto roads with no warning. If you hit a deer, report it to the police even if you’re uninjured, as the deer may be fatally injured and suffering.”
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