DRIVERS are being urged to slow down and look out for deer on the county's roads this autumn after a recent report revealed how up to 60,000 deer are hit by cars in England every year.
According to the National Deer-Vehicle Collisions Project, about 1,189 deer were involved in accidents in Hertfordshire between 2000 and 2005.This is the second highest number of deer accidents in the east region, with Suffolk topping the list at 1,461 incidents.
The period between October and January sees a peak in collisions between deer and cars as many deer are rutting and on the move. Shorter days also mean that peak traffic flows often coincide with deer movements at dawn and dusk.
RSPCA wildlife scientist Colin Booty said: "This report shows the sheer number of deer killed or maimed on our roads every year. These accidents are not only deadly for deer but can be extremely dangerous for drivers and passengers too.
"Motorists can help to reduce the death-toll by slowing down when they see warning signs and being ready to brake if they see deer, especially at dusk or dawn. It is especially important at this time of year when deer are rutting and are on the move and are likely to wander onto the roads."
Produced by The Deer Initiative, the report also reveals some accident blackspots in the East of England. The B4506 in Ashridge Forest, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire is the most dangerous road in the east region for deer, with more than five collisions a year per kilometre of road.
Roads across the region that see the most deer accidents include the A505 and the B4506 in Bedfordshire, the B1393 in Essex and the B2026 in Kent. There are also a high number of incidents on the A30 from London to Cornwall; the A11 from London to Norwich and the M4 from London to Wales.
Last year alone the RSPCA in England and Wales took 2,862 calls about deer and car collisions, compared to 1,754 in 2000. The society urges drivers to be extra vigilant from sunset to midnight and shortly before and after sunrise.
After dark, drivers are advised to use full-beams when there is no oncoming traffic. The headlight beam will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway and provide greater driver reaction time. When you see a deer in the road, dim your headlights as animals startled by the full-beam may freeze' rather than leaving the road.
The RSPCA is the biggest contributor of data to the project on deer vehicle collisions in England and Wales. Visit www.deercollisions.co.uk for more information or to log any sightings of deer collisions to help identify any accident blackspots.
- Thousands of deer suffer severe injuries, making collisions probably the most significant welfare issue for wild deer
- It is estimated that 296 people were hurt in deer collisions between 2000 and 2005 in the Eastern region
- These accidents damage some 11,000 vehicles, causing some £14million of damage in England
- Car crashes are thought to kill as much as 13 per cent of the fallow deer population each year