POLICE are reminding motorists to take extra precautions to avoid deer on North Yorkshire’s rural roads.

Officers have attended a number of incidents recently involving deer and other animals hit by vehicles and suffering greatly.

On Saturday, just after midnight, police attended Hull Road at Grimston Bar, near York, where a deer had been hit by a vehicle and left with broken legs.

The previous day, officers on patrol came across a deer injured at the side of the road at about 4.30am at Burton Salmon, near Selby. It had also suffered broken legs.

And the day before that, Thursday, May 28, officers found a badger which had been struck by a vehicle at Saxton, near Tadcaster, at 2.30am, and was in distress.

The previous week, in the space of just three days between 19 and 21 May, police in North Yorkshire were called to four different deer hit by vehicles and clearly suffering on roads in Hambleton, Ryedale, Harrogate and Selby. Three of four of those reports came during hours of darkness.

Very sadly, in all these cases, the animals’ injuries were so severe they were not survivable.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said: “It’s possible that wildlife has become used to quieter roads due to the coronavirus restrictions. As traffic increases, please take extra care – especially at night and on roads through rural areas.

“As we’ve seen over the last few days, the highest-risk times for deer collisions are from sunset to midnight, and the hours just before and after sunrise. Collisions also tend to peak around this time of year, as deer travel in search of new territories.

“When you see deer warning road 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 also follow the first one, so remain vigilant.”

If you do see an injured animal in the road, pull over at the next safe place, and call the police on 101 (or 999 if the situation means lives could be at risk). Officers will be able to deal with road safety issues and determine the best course of action for the animal if it is still alive.

If you hit a deer while driving, your priorities – in this order – are:

• 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

• Call the police, giving as precise a location as you can

Don’t approach live deer yourself – they may inadvertently hurt you, or run across traffic causing another collision.