HELENSBURGH motorists are being urged to watch out for deer wandering on to the A82 trunk road.

Scotland TranServ, the company in charge of maintenance of the route, says it has identified two 'hot spots' where deer are a particular danger on the A82 – between Alexandria and Renton, and between Dumbarton and Dalnottar.

Vehicle accidents involving deer peak at this time of year, as young deer disperse and increasingly cross major roads to look for their own territories.

It's estimated that at least 40 per cent of collisions between vehicles and deer happen on A-class trunk roads or motorways, and while there are no official figures for road accidents involving deer, it's thought that up to 70,000 deer die across the UK every year after being hit by vehicles.

Conservative estimates of 400 injuries to vehicle passengers related to these collisions could well be nearer 1000 annually.

Tommy Docherty, Scotland TranServ’s network control centre manager, added: “Our Trunk Road Incident Support Service and Incident Support Unit teams are particularly busy at this time of year, tackling the aftermath of deer collisions; not only the loss of life of this beautiful native animal, but the damage to cars and indeed injuries to drivers and passengers.

"It can be very distressing having to attend such incidents. Their main function is to keep the road safe, but often they need to contact animal welfare experts directly for them to put the injured deer out of its misery.”

Top tips for drivers include being extra vigilant where you see road signs warning of deer or other wild animals, dipping your high-beam headlights when you see a deer to avoid it freezing in your path, and not over-reacting or swerving excessively, since it's safer to continue on your normal path.

If you do hit a deer, try to stop somewhere safe, and report the accident to police, who will contact the authorities able to help the injured animal.

Andy Fraser, Scotland TranServ’s operating company representative, said: “We would advise all drivers to keep an eye out for deer straying onto our trunk roads particularly at this time of year.

"Because they are young, they are less aware of our busy roads.

"Stay vigilant as these young deer can appear quite suddenly out of the fields and woodland that border much of the region’s trunk road network.”