One danger that comes with living in a rural area is that of colliding with an animal while driving.

Tips for avoiding (and dealing with) an animal-vehicle collision

December 29th, 2015 by admin

One danger that comes with living in a rural area is that of colliding with an animal while driving.

One danger that comes with living in or traveling through a rural area is colliding with an animal while driving. Every year animals and cars collide nearly 2 million times, causing over $1 billion in damage — as well as serious, sometimes fatal injuries. These incidents are more frequent in fall and winter due to migration and mating patterns and hazardous weather conditions that can limit visibility. 

To help avoid an animal collision, observe the following safety tips:

  • Most collisions take place at either dusk or dawn. These are times when large animals like moose or deer are more active. The limited visibility affects humans more than most animals, resulting in them being blinded and freezing under headlights.
  • Keep an eye out for signs. Areas where there are frequent animals crossings will often have yellow hazards signs scattered throughout the road. Pay attention to alerts and reduce your speed.
  • Expect more than one. Animals often travels in pairs or packs, so even if you think one has safely crossed your path, keep an eye out for more coming behind.
  • Be calm and assertive. If an animal crosses your path, avoid swerving wildly. Blare your horn and try and avoid the animal safely, while recognizing that hitting another car or tree could be more dangerous than hitting the animal.

The key to avoiding these collisions is to stay alert and calm and avoid distractions while traveling in an area that is known for wildlife. Always wear your seatbelt, as even a medium-sized deer can cause serious damage to a car and potentially grave harm to a driver.

If you do end up colliding with an animal, do not panic. Get to a safe place where you are no longer in danger from other cars and take the following steps.

  • Call 911 and animal services. Even if everyone in your car appears unhurt, it is a good idea to call 911 so that they can alert local police to the incident. You may also be in shock and unaware of injuries you have sustained. Police can help remove the animal from the roadway to keep traffic from being obstructed as well.
  • Don't touch the animal. Even if the animal appears dead, it may not be and could cause more damage or harm if you attempt to touch it. An scared animal may be likely to lash out — particularly big, aggressive animals like a bear, who can survive being stuck by a car. Stay in your car and await help.
  • Take pictures of the damage. Once your injuries have been tended to, begin documenting the accident with pictures and notes, including approximate time and how fast you were traveling. Ask if the police can include the information in a write-up for the incident. Your insurance provider will likely request this information when you file, so it'll help to have it on hand.
  • Contact your insurance. Ask about your coverage for animal-related damage claims. Your agent will be able to walk you through the steps of filing a claim and let you know what information will be needed, as well as provide you with resources you may need in the short term like towing and repair.

At Fundy Mutual, we provide our customers with the most comprehensive coverage at affordable automobile insurance rates. To find out if your coverage includes animal collision or ask any other questions, please do not hesitate to give us a call.