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Increase in collisions with deer prompts police warning to motorists

Last modified: 26 May 2021 at 01:37pm

Police are asking motorists to take extra care on North Yorkshire’s roads after an increase in collisions involving wildlife.

Increase in collisions with deer prompts police warning to motorists

Since the start of May 2021, at least 16 deer have died after being struck by vehicles in York and North Yorkshire.

Very sadly, in all 16 incidents, the deer’s injuries were not survivable.

Inspector Dan Spence, from North Yorkshire Police’s Force Control Room, said: “We have unfortunately seen a significant increase in collisions involving deer this month. Please can motorists pay extra attention, particularly where there are deer warning signs in place.

“A collision with a deer puts motorists at risk, and tragically often results in terrible suffering for the animal involved. That’s why it’s very important for motorists to always expect the unexpected, especially when driving at night and on roads in rural areas.”

When you are travelling through a forested area, or see deer warning signs, check your speed, stay alert, and be prepared to stop. If using headlights, turn on full-beams when you can, but dip them if you do see a deer, as they may ‘freeze’. More deer may follow the first one you see, so remain vigilant.

If you see an injured deer on the roadside, pull over at the next safe place, and call the police on 101, or 999 if the situation means lives could be at risk. We will deal with road safety issues and officers will be able to determine the best course of action for the animal if it is still alive.

So far this month, collisions have been reported to police on:

  • Wednesday 26 May – one on the A64 at West Heslerton, near Pickering, another at Hillam near Selby; and a third on the A170 at Helmsley.
  • Monday 24 May on the A64 near Tadcaster;
  • Saturday 22 May on the A169 near Malton;
  • Friday 14 May on the A19 north of Easingwold;
  • Wednesday 12 May – one south of Romanby, Hambleton, and another at Skelton, York;
  • Tuesday 11 May – one on the A19 at Crockey Hill, York, and another at Camblesforth, Selby;
  • Monday 10 May – one on the A19 at Knayton, Hambleton, and another on the B1248 at North Grimston, Ryedale;
  • Sunday 9 May on the A166 at Gate Helmsley, Ryedale;
  • Saturday 8 May at Rievaulx, Ryedale;
  • Friday 7 May on the A59 at East Marton, Craven; and
  • Sunday 2 May on the A169 at Low Marishes, Ryedale.

The highest-risk times for deer collisions are from sunset to midnight, and the hours shortly before and after sunrise. Collisions typically peak this month as the animals search for new territories.

If you hit a deer while driving, your priorities, in this order, should be:

  • Keep yourself and anyone with you as safe as you can
  • Park your car in the safest place with hazard lights on
  • Call an ambulance if human injuries warrant it
  • Call the police, giving as precise a location as you can
  • Don’t approach live deer – they may hurt you, or run across traffic causing another collision.
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