Deers killed on roads - police issue warning to drivers
The deaths of three deer all hit by cars - including one in Scarborough - has sparked a police warning to drivers.
Officers say with roads being quieter because of coronavirus restrictions, wildlife may be being encouraged to venture out onto public highways.
In less than hour on Saturday, North Yorkshire Police logged three different incidents where deer had been hit by vehicles.
The first was at 6.35am when a member of the public called to report an injured young deer in the middle of Seamer Road, Scarborough.
At 7am, officers on patrol came across a badly injured deer at the side of the road on the A19 south of Thirsk.
And at 7.10am, Highways Agency officers reported a deer had been hit on the A1(M) near junction 51, Leeming Bar. Officers attended and a rolling road-block had to be put in place.
In all three cases, the animals died from their injuries.
A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said: “It’s possible that, with quieter traffic due the coronavirus restrictions, wildlife is less likely to avoid roads.
"So we’re asking people to take extra care on their essential journeys – always expect the unexpected, especially at night and on roads through rural areas.
“In particular, when you see deer warning signs or are travelling through a wooded area, check your speed, stay alert, and be prepared to stop.
"If your headlights are on, use 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 keep vigilant.
"These incidents also highlight the risk of making unnecessary journeys – you could be involved in a collision, even through no fault of your own, which puts a strain on emergency service resources that could be focused on fighting Covid-19.”
The highest risk times for deer collisions are from sunset to midnight, and the hours shortly before and after sunrise.
According to Highways England, collisions also tend to peak around May as deer search for new territories.
The police spokesperson added: “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.”
If you hit a deer while driving, police say your priorities - in this order - should be to 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 and call the police giving as precise a location as you can.
They say people should not approach live deer as they may hurt you or run across traffic, causing another collision.
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