Close calls with wildlife on the road are frighteningly common. If you do hit an animal while driving, a clear head and preparation are vital.
Even with ever-longer days, wildlife on the road is still very much a hazard. Deer, elk, and even moose can be difficult to see at the best of times, but especially so in the dim light of dawn and dusk.
Blending easily into roadside flora, wildlife can all of a sudden appear as though from out of nowhere, launching with frustrating randomness into the road and oncoming traffic. When you live where we do, being extra attentive to animals while driving is essential to road safety. Yet, accidents that involve collisions with large game are frighteningly common.
Despite how often it happens, most of us aren’t at all prepared with how to handle a vehicle collision with an animal. But, with a little education and preparation, you can respond calmly and humanely as you manage the situation as well as your insurance.
Below are the recommended steps to take if you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation. Preparation is key, particularly when it involves such a common potentiality as hitting an animal with your vehicle.
Follow the steps below should you find yourself in the frightening and unfortunate situation of having hit an animal while driving.
Ensure for the safety of yourself and your passengers
You can’t anticipate an animal all of a sudden appearing in front of you while driving. If it occurs, and you hit the animal while driving, follow these safety protocols to reduce further risk of harm:
- Pull off the road immediately, or as soon as it’s safe to pull over
- Check that everyone in the vehicle is unharmed
- Turn on your hazard lights
- If the animal is incapacitated on the road, direct your headlights towards it to alert other drivers
- Don’t approach the injured animal – it will be in great distress and possibly very dangerous.
- Don’t leave the scene without checking your vehicle for possible damage, including missing parts, fluid that’s leaking, or smoke. You may need the help of a tow truck.
It’s not unusual to want to help an injured animal, particularly if it’s still alive. But it can be very dangerous. You should call Animal Conservation and inform them of the situation so they can take care of the situation safely and humanely.
Collect information from the accident scene
No matter what kind of accident you’re involved in, it’s important to collect as much information as possible at the scene. And that includes a collision with an animal. When you make an insurance claim you want to ensure that you have photos or video of the animal, the surrounding area, the damage to your vehicle, witness documentation – statements and contact information.
If necessary, call 911 for the police
In the event of a bad collision, where the animal is incapacitated and blocking the road, it’s best to err on the side of caution and call for help. After you have hit an animal while driving, the police can help direct traffic and notify other drivers until the animal can be removed safely from the road.
Certainly, if there is damage to your vehicle or you or any of your passengers have sustained injuries, you should notify the police. You may have to fill out a police report, and your insurance provider may, in fact, request it.
Be sure to call the police in the event of the following circumstances:
- You’ve hit a large animal and it is incapacitated in the middle of the road and a hazard to other drivers.
- If you have sustained damage to the vehicle or injuries – the police will help you file a report.
- If you need help to move the animal.
- If the animal is still alive and needs to be transported to get the help of a veterinarian.
Contact your insurance provider
Along with a call to the police, it’s recommended that you call your insurance agent as soon as possible if your vehicle is damaged when you hit an animal while driving. It’s not unusual for your insurance provider to request all details including any photo or video. When you call your insurance broker right away, you are better able to recall all the necessary information much more clearly and specifically. The sooner you report damage to your vehicle, the sooner you’ll get the assistance you need.
If you have an auto insurance policy with comprehensive coverage, you may be covered if you hit an animal while driving.
Speak with one of our agents today to see if you have comprehensive coverage.
Get in touch with a Creston Valley Insurance representative today!
You want to have the right coverage in the event the unexpected happens. We can provide the expert, professional advice you need to help you navigate any unforeseen accident such as this. Whether you’ve had an accident with another vehicle or with an animal, we will help guide you through the claims process.
We make it easy to get the insurance you need: