MORE than 450 deer were hit by vehicles on Hampshire roads last year, according to figures released by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary. 

The police force revealed the statistics, which saw 114 incidents attended by its Humane Animal Dispatch volunteers, as it warned motorists to watch out for the animals. 

According to The British Deer Society, it is estimated that more than 40,000 deer are killed on UK roads each year, a figure which may well be nearer 74,000 as many go unreported.

The society said that Deer Vehicle Collisions (DVC) present one of the main causes of mortality among wild deer populations in the UK. 

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A high proportion of deer hit by cars are not killed outright: many must be put down at the roadside, while others escape to die later of their injuries. Yearly, the incidents cause substantial damage to cars and numerous human injuries and fatalities.

In 2023, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary recorded 457 collisions involving deer. 

Local data shows that deer collision reports peaked in November, with the second highest month being May, but you could hit a deer at any time of the year.

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A police spokesman issued this advice: 

Beware during peak danger periods 

Highest-risk times tend to be sunset-midnight & the hours shortly before and after sunrise. 

Drive with caution 

During peak danger periods or on roads where hitting a deer is a possibility, drive with caution and be on the lookout for deer near the road. 

Seen one? Look for another.

Be aware that more deer may well cross after the one you have noticed. 

Use your lights 

After dark use full-beam when there's no opposing traffic. BUT, when a deer or other animal is noted on the road, dim your headlights. Startled animals may ‘freeze’ rather than leave the road. 

Don’t over-swerve to avoid hitting a deer 

If a collision with the animal seems inevitable, then hitting it while maintaining full control of your car is the safest option. The alternative of swerving into oncoming traffic or off of the road surface could be a lot worse. Motorcyclists are at particular risk when in direct collisions with animals. 

Look out for traffic behind you 

Only brake sharply and stop if there is no danger of being hit by following traffic, and use your hazard lights.        

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