Watch our of Rudolf in the road, warns Warwickshire County Council

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INCIDENTS of motorists hitting wild deer on the county’s roads have increased recently, according to new figures.

The Deer Vehicle Collisions (DVC) project estimates up to 7,4000 Deer Vehicle Collisions occur each year in the UK causing vehicle damage, personal injury, and suffering for the deer.

Sometimes the outcome of such collisions is much more serious and DVC data from the five year period from 2000 and 2005 reveals that 20 people were killed and 134 seriously injured through these accidents.

Periods of highest risk are around dawn and dusk so motorists should be especially alert at these times - even more so when driving on rural roads which already pose many hazards this time of year. The county council has put out some advice to help people to take extra care.

· If your headlights are on, use full-beams when you can; but dip them if you see deer, as they may ‘freeze’.

· Always assume more deer may follow one across the road.

· Be prepared to stop. Try not to suddenly swerve to avoid a deer. Hitting oncoming traffic or another obstacle could be even worse.

· If you have to stop or slow down significantly, use hazard warning lights.

· Do not approach an injured deer – it could be dangerous.

· When you see deer warning signs, check your speed and stay alert.

Warwickshire County Council is now asking drivers to take care and watch out for these animals.

Chris Fossey - Road Safety Liaison Officer at Warwickshire County Council said: “Deer movements can be unpredictable and in a rural county such as Warwickshire it is hard for the council to put warning signs at every location where deer may be present. As such we are asking people to follow our advice and take extra care to minimise the chance of collision and reduce the number of injured and dead deer being left on our rural roads.”

If you collide with a deer (or witness a collision) and someone may be injured, or the presence of vehicles/deer in the road are a risk to road safety, then you should treat this as an emergency and ring 999 for Police or Ambulance service immediately.

If you are involved in an accident involving an animal and are unsure what to do, call the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty and advice line 0300 1234 999.