Drivers warned of high risk of deer on Aberdeenshire's roads

Drivers in Aberdeenshire are being urged to slow down and be on the lookout for deer on the road.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 5:00 am
Deer are most likely to venture on to roads at this time of year, with Aberdeenshire a particularly high risk area. (Photo: Lorne Gill-NatureScot)

Incidents of deer-vehicle collisions (DVCs) usually increase in late May and June, as young deer disperse to look for their own territories.

It’s estimated that collisions between deer and vehicles could be as high as 9,000 per year in Scotland, resulting in 50 to 100 human injuries.

The majority of collisions take place in early evening through to midnight, with another peak occurring from 6am to 9am.

Over the past 50 years, the number of wild deer in Scotland has increased, as has their range. In the same period, the volume of road traffic has almost doubled.

This combination has led to increased deer-vehicle collision rates across the country, with one of the greatest jumps occurring in Aberdeenshire.

Over the last 14 months, deer-vehicle collisions have not increased as a result of lower traffic flows linked with Covid restrictions. But it is likely that as controls ease and traffic flows return to more normal levels, there will be increased risk to drivers and deer.

Jamie Hammond, NatureScot Wildlife Management Officer, said: “Particularly in peak times, we advise motorists to slow down and watch for deer crossing roads. Be aware that if you're driving near woods, deer can suddenly appear before you have time to brake.

"If you do hit a deer, report it to the police even if you’re uninjured and your car isn’t damaged, as the deer may be fatally injured and suffering."

Tips to avoid deer include:

• Try not to suddenly swerve to avoid hitting a deer, as a collision into oncoming traffic could be even worse.

• Only brake 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.

• 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. Dim your headlights if you see a deer so you don’t startle it.

• Report any collisions to the police, who will contact the local person who can best help with an injured deer on the road. Don’t approach an injured deer yourself – it may be dangerous.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​