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What to do if You Hit an Animal

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 28 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 driving Animal Collisions Car

Many animals have no real understanding of cars or the outside world in general. Do you know what to do if you accidentally hit an animal whilst driving?

How To Avoid Animal Collisions

  • When driving through open country containing wildlife, it is important to drive slowly and carefully.
  • This is particularly true at night, as 90% of accidents occur in the dark when vision is limited and last-minute adjustments are harder to carry out.
  • Keep an eye out for warning signs.
  • Wear a seat-belt.
  • Use your high-beams as they cause a reflection in the animal's eyes that you can see.
  • Avoid travelling at times of high accident rates - dusk, early morning and times when animals will be moving from summer to winter grazing areas and vice versa.

How To Cope With Animals In The Road

  • Do not beep or honk at animals standing in the road - this frightens them. Instead, wait until they wander off. This requires patience as some animals move very slowly.
  • If the animal is a cow or doe, a long beep will probably scare the animal into moving to the roadside.

If An Animals Swerves Into The Road

  • Break immediately. This allows the animal to move off the road.
  • Do not be tempted to swerve straight away as the animal may be shocked into running into you. It may also compromise drivers behind you.
  • Remember that wild animals tend to travel together, so be sure to look out for other animals.

What To Do If You Hit An Animal

  • First of all, check to make sure the animal isn't injured, or worse.
  • If the animal is small and you can move it, take it to the side of the road to reduce the dangers for other drivers. Generally speaking though, it is best to leave that to those who are experienced.
  • If the animal is large, do not attempt to move it.
  • Whatever the size, do not try to pick up an injured animal. This is likely to scare it, and it will probably respond by kicking or biting you
  • Cover up the animal if you can to keep it warm. Covering its head generally soothes it. It is not advisable to feed the animal.
  • If at all possible, stay with the animal until help arrives.
  • Switch on your car hazard lights or use emergency road flares to inform approaching vehicles of an imminent danger.
In some places you must report to the local law enforcement agency (usually the police) if you hit an animal on the road. The same goes for large wildlife. Inform them that the animal is obstructing traffic and someone will remove it shortly. They will then contact the appropriate organisation to remove it.

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