Motorists are being advised to be vigilant for lusty deer as road safety chiefs are concerned over the rising number of deer colliding with cars. The warning comes as the mornings and evenings get darker and rutting season approaches.
Rutting season is when stags clash with one another for the attentions of female deer, meaning they are more likely to be active on Irish roads. The National Parks and Wildlife Service has teamed up with Mayo County Council’s road safety office to launch its new Deer Aware campaign.
Signs will be located across the county to raise awareness that deer may be active in certain areas, advising motorists to drive slower and be on the look out for the antlered animals. According to AA Car Insurance, the average pay-out for a deer strike is €1,600.
Figures released by the Wild Deer Association of Ireland show there are around 400 to 500 collisions between motorists and deer each year. Mayo’s road safety officer Noel Gibbons said: “It’s rutting season for lusty deer so we are appealing to motorists to watch out for deer crossing and to reduce your speed. Cars can easily be written off in a collision with deer and car occupants are often injured. Not only that, an increase in premium is likely to follow as some, or all, of any no-claims-bonus will be lost unless it’s protected.”