With spring well underway, motorists should be wary of one of the season’s least known driving hazards – deer.

About 40,000 deer collisions occur every year in the UK, causing some 350 human injuries.

Deer are not afraid of traffic noise. They can be seen grazing alongside rural roads, particularly during the May peak when young disperse, and at dawn and dusk when they go out and return from feeding.

An Essex County Council spokesperson said: “Collisions often lead to serious traffic disruption while debris and carcasses are removed from the highway. Drivers and their passengers can also become distressed when passing dead or dying deer.”

Here are some simple precautions to avoid deer collisions:

• take note of deer warning signs

• drive with extra caution on country roads where deer collisions are more likely to happen

• beware at the peak danger periods of dawn and dusk in May

• see one deer, watch out for another

• after dark, use full-beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic, dim them on sight of a deer

• don’t over-swerve to avoid hitting a deer

• report all deer collisions to the police

Research indicates the vast majority of deer collisions result in vehicle damage only - costing around £16m a year.

However, serious human injuries, including deaths, do happen.

The animal cost is incalculable as many deer leave the scene of a collision, only to die of their injuries later.