Watch out for the deer

Blog post posted on 08/10/19 |

Recently we published some tips about ‘how to safely pass horses on the road’, but what other animals may you encounter on your journey? 

Observation and anticipation are key to all sound decisions you make whilst driving, and how to avoid animals is no different. IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, has put together some tips to keep you safe when driving through deer territory:

  • Collisions with deer are statistically higher during the autumn months due to this being their mating season. According to Govuk, deer are at a higher risk between sunset to midnight, also the hours before and after sunrise. October through to December is considered a high-risk period.
  • If you see deer (or other wild animal) warning signs, be sure to slow down and be on high alert. It is likely they will cross the road in this area.
  • Deer are herd animals so if you see one, it’s likely there are more. Stay vigilant, if one steps out in front of your car, more may follow.
  • Be prepared to stop and try to warn following drivers with early brake lights or hazards.
  • Try not to swerve to avoid hitting deer – you may drive into a ditch or oncoming traffic.
  • You will most likely brake hard to avoid colliding with an animal, be aware that the traffic behind may not be as alert as you.

What to do if you’ve hit a deer or see an injured animal on the roadside:

  • Drive to a safe place and pull over
  • Call the police to alert them of the animal and be precise about where it’s located
  • Do not approach the animal - it may cause further injury or another accident

Richard Gladman said: “A collision with any animal is unpleasant and we should make every effort to avoid this. A collision with something as large as a deer will be catastrophic. It will likely cause injury to vehicle occupants and itself. It will definitely cause damage to your vehicle - even if it’s as small as a Muntjac. Slow down a little and remember we are sharing the wildlife’s habitat and not the other way around.”

If you’ve had a collision that has knocked your confidence, our assessments and advanced courses can help you gain that confidence back.


Notes to editors:

1.            Richard Gladman is IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards.

2.            IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

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