City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Now Is Peak Season for Deer Collisions, Motorists Warned


By edg - Posted on 28 April 2011

Motorists are being told to watch out for young deer straying across the motorway while driving in the Central Belt.  Government agency Scottish Natural Heritage says deer-vehicle collisions often peak in late April to mid-May, as juvenile deer are out on their own for the first time.

It is estimated that there are more than 10,000 deer-related motor vehicle accidents every year in Scotland, on average causing about 70 human injuries. The economic value of these accidents is £5 million.

Across the UK, it’s estimated there are between 42,000 and 74,000 deer-related motor vehicle accidents a year, resulting in 400 to 700 human injuries and about 20 deaths, with a cost of over £17m.

"The number of deer is increasing in some parts of Scotland, particularly in the Central Belt and around our towns and cities as more green space and woodlands are created. These provide ideal habitats for roe deer, leading to more accidents," says Jamie Hammond, SNH Deer Management Officer.

While collisions with deer are often associated with remote Highland roads, up to 70 percent occur on trunk roads or motorways.

"At this time of the year, we'd caution motorists to slow down and watch for deer crossing in front of traffic. Be particularly alert if you’re driving near to woodland areas where deer can suddenly appear before you have time to brake. If you do hit a deer, report it to the police, as the deer may be fatally injured and suffering.”

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), in conjunction with Transport Scotland, are placing warning messages on variable messaging signs on high-risk trunk roads across Scotland from Sunday, May 1 to Sunday, May 15.

The signs are targeted on roads with higher rates of deer-vehicle collisions, such as the M90, A9, A90, M8, M77, A80, M80, A1 and A720, covering areas of the Central Belt around Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Cumbernauld, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen. Signs will warn motorists of the high risk of deer on road.

How to avoid hitting a deer

  1. Try not to suddenly swerve to avoid hitting a deer. A collision into oncoming traffic could be even worse.
  2. Only break sharply and stop if there is no danger of being hit by following traffic. Try to come to a stop as far away from the animals as possible to allow them to leave the roadside without panic, and use your hazard warning lights.
  3. After dark, use full-beams when there is no oncoming traffic, as this will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway and give you more time to react. But dim your headlights when you see a deer or other animal on the road so you don’t startle it.
  4. 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.