There has been a sharp rise in the number of fatal road accidents involving animals according to the latest figures released by the Department for Transport.
The DfT said eight people were killed last year, compared with one in 2010 and six during the year before.
Details of the accidents, which took place in rural areas, are sketchy but are believed to have involved deer or sheep.
“We have pointed out that these animals do cover large areas of the country,” said Andrew Howard, the AA’s head of road safety.
“If you hit them, you should not assume that you are going to escape scot-free.”
Last year fatalities were reported by police in North Yorkshire, Humberside, Warwickshire, Norfok, Thames Valley, Wiltshire, Strathclyde and northern Scotland.
It is estimated that 450 people are injured in accidents involving deer, which in turn kill more than 40,000 of the animals.
In recent weeks a 29-year-old man was killed in Angus after his motorcycle collided with a deer in northern Scotland and only last week three members of the same family were killed when their car swerved to avoid a deer and hit a tree.
Jochen Langbein, who runs the Deer Collisions website, believes the number of accidents is under-reported.
“If the car hits a dead animal then it is classed as an object and not recorded.”
In a study for the Highways Agency, Mr Langbeln found that 65 per cent of deer-related accidents took place in the South East and eastern England.
Up to 13 per cent of accidents involving deer took place on trunk roads with certain stretches of the M3, M27 in Hampshire and the parts of the M11, A12 and M25 being particularly vulnerable.
According to his report there are at least 350 human injuries a year which, he estimates, costs the economy £24 million.
He calculates at least 11,500 vehicles in England alone will incur significant accidents because of collisions with deer, adding a futher £16 million to the cost to the economy.
In addition he has recommended detailed research into more than 50 deer collision hotspots, to see what can be done to reduce the number of accidents.
Sharp rise in fatal road accidents involving animals - Telegraph