High Weald

The South East's roads see the highest numbers of Deer Vehicle Collisions (DVCs) in the country.

deer grazing antlers

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 a constant risk to drivers, they are especially active during Autumn and Spring, at dusk and dawn. To stay as safe as possible on the roads, please take note of the following advice from The Deer Initiative, The Ashdown Forest and East Sussex County Council:

Driving in general:

  • 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
  • When approaching deer warning signs, drivers should slow down and be prepared to stop

If you encounter a deer:

  • Watch out for more deer following the first one - deer will more often move around in groups rather than alone
  • Use your hazard warning lights to alert other drivers
  • 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 a stop as far in front of the animal(s) as possible to enable it to leave the roadside without panic
  • Do not approach an injured deer yourself it may be dangerous

In case of collision, report any deer-vehicle collisions to the police: 

  • If the deer (alive or dead) is blocking the road and is causing an obstruction or is a likely danger to traffic please call 999 and ask for the Police
  • If the deer is at the side of the road (alive or dead), call the Police on the non-emergency number 101

There is specific guidance on what to do if you hit a deer while on the Ashdown Forest - download it here.

More information 
The Deer Initiative - DeerAware.com
East Sussex County Council - Deer collisions
Ashdown Forest - Deer Guidance