How to prevent collisions with animals
Far too often, do we hear about collisions occurring with animals on the road. Imagine happily driving along at night when all of a sudden an animal darts out of the woods alongside the road – a situation that could easily turn into an accident. Possible unfortunate accidents not only affect the poor animal, and our wildlife, but furthermore may have the potential to cause massive amounts of catastrophic damage to you, and your vehicle. In certain instances, it’s even been known to cause extreme injury, and in some cases death to the driver, and or passengers in the vehicle. On the other hand, luckily, there are certain measures we can put into place to avoid these circumstances. Below, I will write a list of tips to keep in mind when on the road.
- Remember to use your high beams when travelling through poorly lit areas at night. This is fundamentally important to making sure your visibility is top notch when driving through dark areas.
- When you see yellow wildlife signs that display pictures of animals such as deer or caribou, be extra alert. The most accidents occur when travelling at peak times such as dusk or dawn. These incidents often occur when driving through heavily forested areas or near water systems such as ponds, lakes and rivers.
- If you are carrying passengers when driving through these areas, ask them to watch out for signs of wildlife. One of the most important signs to look out for is red eyes. When your vehicle headlights come into contact with the eyes of an animal, it causes them to glow. If you see a pair of glowing eyes in your path, you must slow down immediately!
- If you by any chance happen to spot an animal up ahead, try and slow down or stop as quickly and smoothly as possible. Never slam on your brakes, as this can cause your vehicle to loose control. Instead try to apply your brakes as smoothly as possible, and keep an eye in your rearview mirror for possible cars following behind you.
- Never assume an animal is going to cross the road before you approach it. And also remember, that if an animal does cross the road, it is highly likely that there will be one following it close behind. Make sure you keep in mind animals are unpredictable. It is a good idea to try and keep a safe distance.
- If you are slowing down or stopping for an animal, make sure you turn on your hazard lights to alert drivers behind you.
If damage or a collision is inevitable:
- Don’t Panic
- Check for vehicles that may be following you
- Pump the brakes, with out slamming them down and skidding
- Ease up on the brakes right before the collision. This will prevent the animal from coming into contact with your windshield.
- Steer in the direction that the animal is coming from. This will Minimize the damage, or if your lucky, you may miss the animal altogether. Be careful you do not hit a guardrail or a ditch, which is important to keep in mind.
Post Collision steps to follow (Important for Insurance Purposes)
- Pull over your vehicle when it is safe to do so.
- Check On your passengers. Call 911 if you need it.
- Ensure your hazard signal is turned on
- You may examine the animal for possible injury. If it is still alive, be careful and keep your distance. Contact conservation services and call 911 if the animal is blocking lane of traffic.
- If your vehicle is no longer safe to drive or blocking the road, dial 911.
- Take photos and live documentation of the accident. This will be what you share with your insurance. This can also help when you make a claim.
- Call your insurance broker as soon as possible to ensure the claim goes smoothly and is processed quickly.