The South East's roads see the highest numbers of Deer Vehicle Collisions (DVCs) in the country. The High Weald is the South East's wooded heart and the Ashdown Forest area (including the A22, A275 and minor roads) and roads around Tunbridge Wells have been identified as particularly dangerous.
Whilst deer are especially active during Autumn and Spring and dusk and dawn, they are a constant risk to drivers. The Deer Initiative (DI) has been working with the Highways Agency to offer advice for the public. The advice the DI gives is:
- Be aware that further deer may well cross after the one you may have noticed, as deer will more often move around in groups rather than alone.
- After dark, do use full-beams when there is no opposing traffic. The headlight beam will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway and provide greater driver reaction time. BUT, when a deer or other animals is noted on the road, dim your headlights as animals startled by the beam may 'freeze' rather than leaving the road.
- Don't over-swerve to avoid a deer. If a collision with the animal seems inevitable, then hit it while maintaining full control of your car. The alternative of swerving into oncoming traffic or a ditch or tree could be even worse. An exception here may be motorcyclists, who are at particular risk when in direct collisions with animals.
- Only break sharply and stop if there is no danger of being hit by following traffic. Try to come to stop as far in front of the animal(s) as possible to enable it to leave the roadside without panic
- 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.