Warning for Sussex drivers as number of deer-related accidents grow in the autumn

Deer infographic
Deer infographic

Hundreds of drivers are at risk of being killed or severely injured by deer crossing the roads across Sussex during October and November.

With up to 74,000 deer-related incidents happening in the UK each year, drivers should take extra caution when driving along country roads in Sussex.

This is a particularly crucial time of the year for deer as the days get shorter and the rutting season begins, when the males compete with one another for their territory.

Phillip Lucas, who has been involved in deer management in the north of the county for 30 years, said: “There’s going to be, between now and Christmas time, about 30 deer which will be wounded by cars.”

He said: “If you hit a deer at 20mph you might be able to stop, but if you are doing 60mph you haven’t got a hope in hell!”

“Hitting a 40-50-kg deer is the equivalent of being hit by a large rock when you drive at 40mph.”

He added: “Do not let it be you.”

Mr Lucas receives an average of four calls a week during this season from the police, who ask him to remove the deer from the road.

He said in most cases drivers do not stop after they have hit the animal, instead, it is other drivers who report the incident to the police.

Mr Lucas has also warned not to touch, or cook, deer because of the risk of E.Coli spreading from the animal’s intestines and causing serious harm.

A spokesman for Sussex-based RSPCA said they have warned motorists to watch out for deer on the roads after a flood of calls about tragic accidents, including a deer which got stuck in a car grille.

They said: “Every year around this time, we hear similar stories of deer and people injured or even killed in road accidents so we urge drivers to slow down, take extra care and watch out for these animals for their own sake as well as theirs.

“As days get shorter, busy traffic times coincide with dawn and the early part of the night when deer are most active and hardest to spot.

“In wooded areas in particular, there may be very little warning before one or several deer bolt across.”

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), a membership organisation that represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, have also expressed deep concern on the high number of deer-related accidents in East and West Sussex.

CLA South East Regional Director Robin Edwards said: “If you are involved in an accident with a deer, report the incident to the police, even if there is no damage to your vehicle or passengers, as they can also arrange for a Deer Warden to attend.”

Anyone involved in deer-related accidents should report call the police on 101, or Phillip Lucas on 07711505674.

You can also visit http://www.deeraware.com/index.php for information.

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