Animal Strikes (What to Do and Who to Call)
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Animals are unpredictable. They can dart out in front of your vehicle at any time even when you don’t see them coming.
Even if you do not live in a rural area you can still end up hitting an animal with your vehicle. Squirrels, pets, deer, skunks, etc… If you have lived in an area for a long time you are probably aware of most of the animals that share your neighborhood.
Sometimes a collision cannot be avoided but there are some precautions you can take to help prevent them.
SLOW DOWN & WATCH FOR ROAD SIGNS. Road signs are posted to alert drivers to the potential that an animal will be crossing where you are driving at some point. Always ASSUME the animal IS going to cross.
There are certain TIMES OF DAY you need to be extra careful and drive slower. DUSK to DAWN. Since most wild animals begin to be more active during this time you should be more alert, watchful of the sides of the roadway ahead and drive slower. PREPARE yourself and your vehicle for a collision at all times.
If you are unfortunate enough to have injured or killed an animal with your vehicle first STAY CALM and make sure you and your passengers are OK.
Pull off the roadway to a safe place. TURN ON your hazard lights.
As an extra precaution put out your reflective triangles and/or road flares so other vehicles will see you along side the road.
NOTIFY THE POLICE especially if the animal is LARGE, STILL ALIVE and/or ON THE ROADWAY. Also, filing a police report will help with your insurance claim.
DO NOT APPROACH AN INJURED ANIMAL. Even if you think the animal is no longer living. It may just be knocked out. Injured animals are scared and disoriented and can KICK, BITE, SCRATCH, etc. So, keep yourself well away from the animal.
GATHER INFORMATION & TAKE PHOTOS
If there are witnesses get their NAME, ADDRESS, EMAIL AND PHONE NUMBER. Your insurance company may contact them for details of the accident.
CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY. Do this as soon as possible so the memory of the event is still fresh in your mind. If you wait details may be jumbled or lost. Remember, your shaken from the accident and later on after you settle down you may forget certain things.
MAKE SURE YOUR VEHICLE IS OK TO DRIVE – Look for FLUIDS LEAKING, SMOKE or STEAM, FLAT TIRES, MISSING PARTS, ETC. If you want to grab any debris or parts from the roadway use EXTRA CAUTION.
Leaving the scene:
- Make sure you are CALM enough to drive
- Put your triangles, etc. back into your vehicle
- Turn off your hazard lights
- CAREFULLY pull away from the scene and be on your way.
IF YOU HIT SOMEONE’S PET – Please try to contact the pet’s owner. It’s always better to KNOW what happened than to let them WONDER if their pet suffered. How it was hit, etc..
Remember to check our other articles and videos for more helpful information.