Oh deer! What should you do if your car hits a deer?
Each year more than 42,000 deer are killed on the roads and over 400 people injured as a result of car accidents with a deer. Catherine Hyde of Coodes Solicitors’ Personal Injury team gives advice for drivers and explains what you should do if your car hits a deer.
There are two times of the year when you are most likely to see a deer on the road: in May and June, when young deer branch out from breeding areas, and in the rutting season in the autumn. How can drivers avoid a collision and what should you do if you do hit a deer?
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Look for deer road signs
Triangular deer warning signs are there for a reason: deer are likely to be in the area and could be in the road, so be vigilant. Early morning – around sunrise – and from sunset to midnight are key times for deer to be out so be particularly cautious around these times. Drive at an appropriate speed so if you see a deer, you can react in time to slow down.
Dip your lights if you see a deer
If you have your full beam lights on, dip them if you see a deer. Bright lights could cause a deer to freeze in its path, rather than running out of the road.
Do not break excessively or swerve
If a deer runs in front of you, it is safer to continue in your track rather than swerve to avoid it or slam on the breaks. Many accidents are caused by drivers swerving to avoid animals and then colliding with another vehicle.
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What if I do hit a deer?
The law does not require you to report a collision involving a deer. However, if the deer is injured you should report the accident so someone can help it. First of all look for somewhere safe to stop. When you have parked, call the police non emergency number 101 (not 999) to report the accident. They can then contact a professional to help the injured deer. If you are unsure what you have hit then you should stop as soon as it is safe to do so and call the police.