Crashes involving roaming deer claim 100 drivers’ lives a year. And they reach a peak now.

Do you drive where deer roam? If so, take extra care this week and next. The AA reports that collisions between cars and deer reach a peak during May, increasing by a quarter over any other month.

Young deer move from their breeding areas and are most likely to be hit at sunset or in the early morning. The problem is a severe one: each year 100 drivers are killed in accidents involving deer, while between 40,000 and 50,000 deer die in accidents on British roads: that’s roughly one in 20 of the deer population.

Such collisions cause £11m worth of damage to cars. Hampshire is the county where most accidents happen, followed by Essex and Suffolk.

Drivers who suddenly come upon a deer in the middle of the road face an impossible choice – do they swerve and risk hitting a lamp post, a tree, or another vehicle, or do they keep straight, brake and hope for the best?

The AA advises that, while your instinct may be to swerve, it is better to stay on track and brake. Drivers should slow down where there are deer warning signs, or where the animals are known to roam, and to drive within a safe stopping distance.

Stephen Jury


May 19, 2008