Help! I hit a wild animal with my car - now what?
The steps you need to take in this situation…
As an animal lover, this situation can be a sad and terrifying one at the same time. Hitting an animal with your car is a huge risk we all face in South Africa.
From stray pets like dogs and cats to livestock roaming public roads - these are all animals who step out into roads and risk their lives. And then there are the bigger animals such as kudu which are known to jump out of nowhere when travelling through places like the Karoo on a road trip.
This blog post will focus on what to do if you hit a wild animal or livestock.
Wild animals and livestock are often hit by cars, and it can be a traumatic situation for the suffering animal, the driver and the passengers.
That’s why we have put together an ultimate guide to handling this situation calmly and with a clear mindset…
1. Stay calm
The first thing you need to do is take a deep breath.
You cannot expect to handle any emergency rationally if you are panicking.
If you have just hit an animal, remain calm and then make sure you stick to the steps that follow.
2. Pull over and stop your car when it is safe to
Don’t forget about the other drivers on the road.
Often when someone is involved in an accident, they will immediately bring their car to a screeching halt, but this is not a good idea and could lead to a bumper bashing and a serious accident involving the other vehicles on the road.
When you hit an animal, look around to see if there are any other cars, then slowly pull over to assess the situation.
3. Check on your passengers
Before you check on the animal, make sure your passengers are unharmed. If everyone was wearing their seatbelt, then there is a reduced risk of injury.
Your passengers might just be freaking out a bit, make sure you tell them that everything is going to be okay, but they need to remain calm.
4. Check the status of the animal
You must not attempt to treat the animal yourself, unless you are a vet, then go ahead. Don’t forget that hurt animals can be extremely aggressive and lash out at you and try to attack or bite you.
Instead, approach the animal slowly. If it is still breathing, then call the National Council of SPCAs. The SPCA closest to you might be able to assist you, or they can give you the number of emergency vets in the area that can help you.
Seeing an injured animal is incredibly stressful to witness, but trying to help it could make matters worse. React calmly and do not make any sudden moves.
5. Notify the authorities
Phone the SAPS and local authorities, this will help in your car insurance claim if your car was damaged in the accidents and can help the owner of the animal know that something has happened.
Do NOT leave the animal in the road suffering.
What to know about claiming this for this situation from your insurer
Hitting an animal, especially livestock, can cause serious damage to any car! That’s why it pays to have vehicle insurance.
If you want to claim for the damage done to your car from hitting a stray animal, then you need to make sure you make notes of any features on the animal that can identify it such as an ear-tag or branding, which will help in proving ownership of the animal.
Make sure you take photos of any broken or open fences or gates and point them out to the police to include in their report, this shows negligence on the farmers part to stop his or her livestock from going into the road.
Contact your insurer and find out if there is any additional information you need to process your car insurance claim.
Find out how to avoid animals on the road here.
Drive safely on the roads and make sure you stick to the speed limits as this can affect how badly you crash into unexpected obstacles.
Yours in uncomplicated car insurance,