Caution – deer crossing

Published: 08 Oct 2018

With the UK deer population at record levels, Hertfordshire County Council is reminding drivers to be extra vigilant on the roads this autumn.

At this time of year the male fallow deer is unpredictable and can travel several miles a day in search of a mate, crossing roads in the process. The most common time for the male deer to roam is at dawn and dusk, which in late September and October coincides with the morning and evening rush-hours.

The deer population in Hertfordshire, which mainly consists of fallow deer and muntjac deer, is widespread across the county with particular concentrations in pockets of woodland countryside. Although deer are present in residential areas it is where major roads pass near wooded areas, with traffic moving at high speeds, that there is a particular risk of collisions with crossing animals.

Phil Bibby, Cabinet Member for Highways and Environment, said: "In locations which are known migration crossing points we have taken steps to erect deer fences, especially on major new roads, but because the wild deer population is so widespread we can't protect every road.

"We would urge motorists to be cautious and drive a little slower at this time of the year, especially on rural and semi-rural roads.”

Some basic safety tips which might help you to avoid collisions with deer include:
• Reduce your speed in high risk areas such as wooded areas close to major roads.
• Use your headlights on full beam, when safe to do so.
• Be aware that more deer may cross after the first one you see.
• Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path. Don't over-swerve to avoid hitting it as you may potentially cause a more serious collision with other road users
• Leave a safe distance to the vehicle in front in case they have to take action to avoid a deer
• Be aware that stopping distances are often longer at this time of year due to damp roads and fallen leaves