Deer vehicle collisions

Reducing the risk of deer vehicle collisions helps to safeguard the public as well as wild deer welfare.

We work with other agencies to minimise road traffic accidents involving deer. This work helps to protect public safety and also deer welfare. We want to ensure that deer also don’t suffer at an individual or population level.

NatureScot also has a regulatory role where concern is expressed over public safety in relation to deer. For example, deer present in airport compounds may present a hazard to aircraft.

Advice to planners

We advise local authorities and road developers to ensure that new road schemes are designed to reduce the likelihood of deer vehicle collisions.

Our focus is:

  • landscape and fencing design
  • vegetation palatability and management

Our Wildlife Management Officers have been involved in large-scale schemes where deer may present a risk to drivers – e.g. the A9 Dualling project and the M80 Stepps to Haggs upgrade.

Advice to drivers

  • When you see deer warning signs, check your speed and stay alert.
  • Use your headlights on full beam when you can, but dip them if you see a deer – this will make it less likely to ‘freeze’.
  • You may come across more than one deer waiting to cross the road.
  • Be prepared to stop – swerving to avoid a deer could cause you to hit another vehicle or obstacle, putting you in even more danger.
  • Use your hazard lights to warn others if you must stop on the road.
  • Never approach an injured deer – you could put yourself in danger.
  • Call 999 if you or another vehicle collides with a deer, resulting in injury or a risk to other road users.

Monitoring deer vehicle collisions

We monitor the frequency and distribution of deer vehicle collisions across the Scottish road network to better understand the risk to drivers on Scottish roads.

NatureScot and partners such as Transport Scotland, Police Scotland, road operating companies and landowners have made attempts in a number of priority sites to reduce the risk of deer vehicle collisions, through:

  • deer fencing
  • vegetation management
  • focused deer management
  • use of varied signage to improve driver awareness

Deer Vehicle Collisions in Scotland Monitoring Project

This project, managed by NatureScot staff and in partnership with Transport Scotland, assesses the scale and distribution of collisions across Scotland.

This ongoing e-project which first began in 2008 helps identify stretches of road with higher levels of collisions per kilometre. This has let us prioritise where to implement mitigation measures.

We’ve found out where collisions occur by drawing on reliable data from:

  • trunk road operating companies
  • Scottish SPCA
  • regional councils
  • police records
  • insurance company claims
  • Forestry and Land Scotland

Read NatureScot Research Report 1329 - Deer Vehicle Collision analysis 2019-2021

Read NatureScot Research Report 1158 - Deer Vehicle Collision data collection and analysis 2016-2018

Read Deer Vehicle Collisions in Scotland: data collection and collation to end 2015

Read Deer Vehicle Collisions in Scotland Monitoring Project 2008 - 2011 - monitoring project

Read our latest news release - Drivers warned of deer collision risk (23 May 2023)


Contact the National Operations Unit for data on deer vehicle collisions across Scotland.

Find out more

The Indirect Costs of Deer Vehicle Collisions: Final report

Vehicle Activated Deer Warning Signs

Guidance and advice for Land Managers

Deer Vehicle Collisions Analysis 2008 - 2021


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