Drivers in the North West are being urged to be ‘DeerAware’ after a spate of collisions on the region’s roads in recent weeks.
The Highways Agency, which operates motorways and major A roads across the North West, and partners in the Deer Initiative are reminding drivers to be aware of a problem which leads to more than 70,000 collisions between deer and vehicles every year on UK roads – resulting in up to 20 fatalities and 700 injuries among motorcycle riders, drivers and passengers.
Chairman for the Deer Initiative, Jane Rabagliati said,
“We are pleased that the Highways Agency is taking this issue seriously. Deer vehicle collisions not only cause injury and stress to drivers but there is also a welfare issue for the deer.”
Stuart Lovatt, Highways Agency Safety Action Plan Coordinator, said,
“We have mutual interest with the Deer Initiative in spreading the DeerAware message. Collisions with deer can cause serious injuries or fatalities to motorcyclists or drivers and passengers and at the very least can result in lane and carriageway closures disrupting people’s journeys.
“The key message to road users throughout spring – and again during autumn – is to be on the alert and be prepared for spotting a deer in the carriageway and slow down if you see signs warning of the possibility of deer crossings.”
The Deer Initiative is a broad partnership of statutory, voluntary and private interests dedicated to managing the wild deer population in England and Wales and works with the Highways Agency to try to reduce collisions involving the animals which can weigh up to a quarter of a tonne.
More information about the DeerAware campaign and a form to report incidents is available at on the Deer Aware website.
There have been a number of accidents in south Lancashire recently including incidents along the M61 and A56.
The campaign message to drivers is:
- When you see deer warning signs, check your speed and stay alert
- If your headlights are on, use full-beams when you can; but dip them if you see deer as they may ‘freeze’
- When you see one look for another, further deer may well cross after the one you have noticed
- Be prepared to stop. Try not to suddenly swerve to avoid a deer. A collision with oncoming traffic or another obstacle could be even worse
- If you have to stop, use your hazard warning lights
- Do not approach an injured deer – it could be dangerous
- If you collide with a deer (or witness a collision) and someone may be injured, or if vehicles or deer in the road are a risk to road safety, then you should treat this as an emergency and ring 999 for the Police or Ambulance service immediately. You can use an emergency roadside telephone if one is available
- To report any injured deer to the RSPCA please ring the 24-hour cruelty and advice line on 0300 1234 999
As well as supporting the DeerAware campaign to help reduce collisions, the Highways Agency is building deer awareness into its own planning with better signing at hotspot locations for incidents and work to direct animals onto existing road crossings.