When on the road, a fear of many drivers is hitting an animal. If you’re unfortunate enough to have this happen to you, there are certain rules that you have to abide by.
Keep an eye out for road signs. If there’s a high volume of animals in a particular area they’ll usually have a road sign alerting motorists.
For example, deer, otters, and even frogs have signs alerting people that they cross the road. If you see these signs, stay vigilant and adjust speed accordingly.
Also make full use of your lights at night,especially if you’re travelling through the countryside. Using full beam when safe and legal will increase visibility of any critters on the road.
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You can stop for an animal, providing you don’t cause danger to any other motorists.
If you swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid hitting a small animal and cause an accident you’ll be liable.
This applies to emergency stopping. The main rule is not to put other motorists in danger. So if you emergency stop and the car behind runs into you, you may be liable.
However it could be argued that they may have been an improper distance away from you. It does all depend on the scenario. Generally though if you’re putting another motorist in danger, don’t emergency stop.
Cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, dogs, goats are a different matter. The size of these animals could cause injury to yourself and passengers. And the size of them means that they are visible to other motorists.
You should be able to claim if injury is caused to the driver or passenger and the vehicle is damaged. The terms and conditions of your policy should be thoroughly checked though.
If the animal is a pet or a farm animal, then you could argue it’s the responsibility of the owner. As it’s up to them to keep the animal secure.
But if you hit a wild animal and you make a claim, you’ll lose your no claims bonus.
Just like you would in an accident involving another vehicle, you must stop. But before you approach any animal you must ensure you’re safe.
Make sure the road is clear and you’re visible if the lighting is poor. You don’t want to put yourself or anyone else in any danger.
Helping injured animals on the road
First of all consider your own safety and the safety of others around you. Remember these are wild animals, always take care when approaching them.
If you want to help the animal you should observe it first to see how badly hurt it is. Then if possible, call a vet or a wildlife rehabilitator. They may be able to take it in.