DRIVERS in East Sussex are being asked to become ‘deer aware’ this spring.
At this time of year there tend to be more deer running across roads because food is scarce and they need to go further to look for it.
This, combined with an explosion in the deer population in recent years, has led to an increase in the number of collisions between deer and vehicles.
Last year in East Sussex there were more than 450 traffic collisions involving deer, with more than half taking place in the Ashdown Forest area. These collisions cause damage to vehicles and can put people’s lives in danger.
Drivers need to be aware of deer and take extra care during this time, especially in rural areas. In particular, when approaching a deer warning sign, drivers should:
•Be prepared to stop
•Remember, more deer may follow the first one you see
•If you do stop, use your hazard warning lights
•Do not approach an injured deer – it could be dangerous. Call Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999.
Cllr Matthew Lock, East Sussex County Council’s Lead Member for Transport and Environment, said: “This time of year deer are much more likely to be found crossing the road and so drivers really do need to take extra care, especially around warning signs. We want to make sure drivers, walkers and cyclists are as safe as possible, and we want to keep the suffering of injured animals to an absolute minimum. The best way to do that is to drive carefully and avoid collisions happening in the first place.”
For more information, visit the council’s website at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/deer
The times of most deer movement over the year are in spring, when food is scarce, and in autumn during the rut.
To ensure the safety of drivers and walkers, and reduce the suffering of injured animals, the council has set up a deer warden scheme in partnership with Sussex Police and other organisations such as the Deer Initiative and the Conservators of Ashdown Forest.