Add three minutes to your journey time in the New Forest

Driving in the New Forest: kill your speed - not an animal 

#add3minutes - Add three minutes to your journey time on New Forest roads 

Disappointingly, each year the number of animal deaths on New Forest roads is not declining.

17 September 2021 update: In one dreadful night last weekend four New Forest animals were killed on the roads. It's even been on the BBC that New Forest motorists have been clocked at 71 mphroad safety at hatchet pond project edward - the team in 40 mph limits.

Whilst driving at a steady 40 across open forest I frequently find big trucks literally on my rear bumper, it may save them a fine and the odd animal from a fright but it's not a pleasant experience. However whilst the various authorities debate potential solutions we can ALL surely do our bit and #addthreeminutes - see below!

Meanwhile on our doorstep Project Edward has just been launched, too: Hampshire police have been targeting speeding drivers near Hatchet Pond during the launch of Project Edward road safety partnership. 

At the event was Dave Luckhurst, who is behind Project Edward – an acronym for Every Day Without a Road Death.

He launched the UK-wide operation with the long-term objective of a road traffic system free from death and serious injury, inroad safety at hatchet pond project edward 2016. It has since reached over 54m people online and partnered with police forces around the country to help tackle speeding.

It has teamed up with Hampshire Police for what the force is calling Project Edward, a campaign against speed, and a number of other organisations have joined in and were at the launch.

They included Forestry England, the British Horse Society, New Forest National Park Authority, Commoners Defence Association (CDA) Verderers, Agisters and the New Forest Roads Awareness (NFRA) campaign.

Agister covering the Hatchet Pond area Robert Maton said improving driver education and awareness was paramount, and that while average speed cameras helped, they were fixed in one place. Having mobile cameras was better since it made drivers stick to the limit as they could be caught anywhere. He suggested localising driver awareness punishment days given to people who speed. "If someone was caught in the Forest it would maybe be an idea to show them videos that related to the locality, such as horses and the damage that can be done to vehicles in such incidents."

Darkness is always the greatest danger

The majority of accidents in the New Forest involving animals occur during the hours of darkness, and every year there is a spike in collisions when the clocks go back. 

The worst routes for animal accidents are Lymington to Dibden Purlieu, Brockenhurst to Sway, Burley to Picket Post and Cadnam to Godshill. And, many of those ghastly accidents happen during those key hours when people are driving home from work – in a hurry.

ponies at night poster oct17 WEB

#add3minutes – New Forest slow down campaign

high risk accident

The National Park Authority has been working with Hampshire County Council and New Forest District Council and other local groups including Hampshire Constabulary to build a Forest-wide campaign to increase drivers’ awareness of the need to take extra care on the dark evenings, and to cut the number of animals killed or injured on New Forest roads on dark winter evenings.

A spokesman for the National Park Authority said: “People are three times more likely to kill or injure an animal after the clocks go back than before. Animal owners and organisations are appealing to commuters to add three minutes to their journeys and drive slowly for New Forest animals.”

A spokesman for the Forest's Animal Accidents Reduction Group said: "Weekdays are worse than weekends and Thursday and Friday are worst days of the week with the peak time of day being the evening, when people are driving in darkness: 5pm-6pm and up to 10pm in winter with an additional peak between 7am-8am in winter."

Three minutes has been measured as the difference between driving along the B3054 from Dibden to the Lymington cattle grid at Portmore at 30 mph instead of 40.

At 30 mph anybody who’s been on a driver awareness course will know that there is a far greater chance of stopping in time to avoid an accident.

So – simply allowing three minutes longer for your journey both morning and evening, could make all the difference.

The hashtag #add3minutes is being used to generate social media volume. We’ll be supporting it.  Please do too - and put it into practice!

newborn foal

Dangers in autumn and winter

Typically, a quarter of the crashes each year take place in the two months after the clocks go back.

New Forest animals tend to congregate closer to the roads in winter. And, if their backs are facing us, we don’t see the collars and don’t see them - until we’re potentially too close to stop.

Dangers in spring and summer

In April and May as the newborn foals start to appear is another timely reminder to slow down on our New Forest roads.

One of the first brand new 2021 foals was captured here by local photographer Graham Wiffen. Everybody was delighted to see them all, but several donkey and pony foals were then killed on our local roads, one gorgeous fun filled donkey foal beside Hatchet Pond, the driver didn't stop and left it to die in agony.

Foals are skittish, unpredictable and desperately delicate, it is important to slow down to practically a standstill if they're close to the roadside.

Hit and run drivers are now being targeted

ponies dont dent they die

Meanwhile, the Official Verderer, Lord Manners, and Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane, have also joined forces in a specific effort to prevent badly-injured animals being left to suffer.

They are going to work more closely with police and insurance companies, in an attempt to ensure that hit-and-run drivers are identified and prosecuted.

So apart from the suffering caused to both animal and owner and the damage to your vehicle,  surely that’s another incentive to slow down.

More information about 'Animal Road Deaths in the New Forest' from the Verderers to download and print.


What to do if you find an injured New Forest animal

If you see an animal which looks ill, is injured, or in distress you should report it as soon as possible, giving a clear description of the animal and what you think may be wrong with it as well as where you saw it and at what time.

If you witness - or are involved in - a road traffic accident involving a New Forest animal, you must report the incident, even if the animal runs off. The animal may be in distress, have serious injuries that require immediate veterinary attention or have fatal injuries that would necessitate the animal being put to sleep. Some animals run away in fear and panic, even on broken limbs which can make you believe that it is unhurt. As a result, the animal can suffer unnecessarily.

Who to contact

Who to contact if you see an injured or distressed New Forest animal

The Verderers state that if a collision with a Forest animal occurs (for whatever reason) drivers are required to report it to the authorities as soon as practicably possible, and certainly within 24 hours. Drivers must not leave the scene of an accident (unless it is to call for help), particularly if the animal is still on the highway as it may cause a further accident.

Road traffic accidents involving Forest animals should be reported immediately to the Police by dialing 999 (emergency) or 101 (non emergency).

If you find a sick, injured or distressed pony, cow, donkey, pig or sheep, contact  the Verderers’ Office on 023 8028 2052 (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm), or the Forestry Commission on 0300 067 4600 (24 hours).

If you find a sick, injured or distressed deer, contact the Forestry Commission on 0300 067 4600 (24 hours).

Download these numbers on a handy credit-card to keep in your purse or wallet.

Forest animals have no road sense and they have right of way. Drive slowly, especially at night, and give animals a wide berth.




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