Deer warning for motorists

A fallow buck sits with does in the afternoon autumn sunlight.
A fallow buck sits with does in the afternoon autumn sunlight.

Motorists travelling in Donegal are being warned of the risk of collisions with deer, as the mornings and evenings get darker.

One of the routes on which deer is most prevalent in Inishowen is the Carndonagh to Ballyliffin road, with a number of collisions reported there in recent years. They may also be found in other locations near wooded areas across the peninsula.

Autumn is the ‘rutting season’ for deer and a period in which deer and car collisions increase.

Donegal County Council has reminded motorists that, with it getting darker earlier, the peak commuting time coincides with deer coming out to feed on grass verges near roadsides. The deer are also harder to spot during dawn and early evening, when they’re most active.

Motorists are urged to drive within the speed limit so as to avoid colliding with deer.

In wooded areas in particular, there may be very little warning before one or several deer appear on the road in front of oncoming vehicles.

Even at low speed they can cause considerable damage to a vehicle and potentially cause life-threatening injuries to the driver and their passengers.

Deer crossing road signs are located in areas known to contain deer population - but are not official crossing points for deer.

In high risk areas, drivers should reduce speed where they see warning sign and stay alert. They should also prepare to stop and never swerve as they could hit another vehicle. If a deer has crossed in front of your vehicle, be aware that others may follow. Do not approach an injured deer and if a motorist collides with a deer, they are asked to report it to Gardai as it may be suffering.