It is a terrifying test of your reflexes, if an animal jumps out in front of you while you are driving. You may be an excellent driver and you know the risk of a highway animal encounter, but do you know what to do when it happens? Most of us don’t, which could explain why 200 people die in animal collisions every year. Thousands of vehicles are wrecked, thousands of people are injured and on the other side of the coin, thousands of animals are killed.
One of the toughest things to do when an animal runs into your path is to resist the automatic tendency to swerve to try and avoid it. Even if you miss the animal, it could still cost you or someone else’s life. According to automobile association experts, the correct action is to firmly apply your brakes, releasing them just before impact, and remain in your lane.
Most animal collisions happen at night and around dawn or dusk. Experts say to use high-beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic, to reduce the risk of a collision. The high-beam lights will help you scan the road and shoulders for any kind of wildlife. Keep in mind if you do see an animal, there is a good chance there is more behind it and they might cross as well. Honk your horn and slow down. Consider slowing down your driving speed, whether it’s day or night, if you know you are in an area with a high wildlife population.
If you collide with a wild animal, but it’s wounded rather than killed, safety experts advise against moving or even touching the animal. Some animals are rabid and wounded ones can behave unpredictably, so please contact the police. If the victim animal is a small urban one, such as a fox, or you spot an injured animal, you should also call the police rather than trying to deal with it yourself. They will be able to summon the appropriate professional help. If you hit a pet, track down the owners.
For your own peace of mind, make sure you are fully insured against the cost of damage to your vehicle or injury to you or your passengers in the event of a crash. If you are not covered against this risk, or if you aren’t sure, please contact us.