10 Oct Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions
OH DEER! Wildlife Vehicle Collisions & How to Prevent Them
Autumn is one of the busiest times of the year for wildlife and consequently it’s also the peak season for wildlife vehicle collisions.
Accidents involving animals can be dangerous to both the passengers of a vehicle and to the wildlife involved. Damage to your vehicle from wildlife collisions is not typically covered by a general auto insurance policy. Instead, it is covered through optional comprehensive vehicle insurance coverage. If you are unsure about your auto insurance policy, speak to your auto insurance broker to see if you have comprehensive coverage for wildlife vehicle collisions.
Here are our tips for avoiding wildlife collisions, as well as what to do if you have hit an animal with your vehicle.
Prevent Wildlife Collisions
Be Aware of Wildlife Activity
Most wildlife vehicle collisions occur in the early mornings or late evenings, when the animals are most active. Use extra caution when driving and reduce speed during these peak times. You are more likely to encounter animals in heavily wooded areas and areas with low traffic. If you have a passenger in your vehicle with you, ask them to keep an eye out for any wildlife that may be too close to the road.
Use Your High Beams
When driving in areas of low light be sure to use your high beams whenever possible so you can look well ahead. Additionally, flashing your high beams at wildlife in the road may encourage them to leave the road. High beams will also light up the eyes of any wildlife on the side of the road making it easier for you to see them.
If you are unable to avoid a collision with wildlife, here are a few helpful things to remember to minimize damage to yourself, your passengers, your vehicle, and to the wildlife.
If it is safe to do so, use your brakes to slow down! Before impact with the animal, ease up on your breaks; this can help prevent a large animal from coming through your windshield. As you press on your brakes, if it is safe, steer towards the direction the animal came from. This may encourage the animal to cross quicker and you may avoid the collision altogether. Maintain control of your vehicle at all times and be sure to check for guardrails, and be aware of the roadside ditch.
What to Do If You Are in A Wildlife Vehicle Collision
Unfortunately, wildlife vehicle collisions do happen. Here’s what you should do if you hit an animal.
Once you have regained control of your vehicle, turn on your hazards. Check on your passengers to see if anyone has been injured and if so, call 911 immediately. If the animal is injured, do not approach it; wild animals can be dangerous and unpredictable. Contact your local animal control services if you suspect that the animal has been injured. If the animal is deceased, contact highway maintenance services. Call 911 if your vehicle is blocking traffic, is no longer safe to drive, or if you need help.
Next, inspect your vehicle for damage and be sure to take photos of your vehicle and the scene of the collision. Photos can be very helpful when making an insurance claim. You can make a claim by calling your broker or the emergency line for your insurance company.
Contact your insurance broker if have any questions about your auto insurance policy or if you would like to make any changes to your current policy. Make sure you review your policy to see if you have the right coverage for wildlife vehicle collisions.
This Workplace Safety North website offers additional information on Avoiding Wildlife on the Highway.
About Huronia Insurance Group
Huronia Insurance Group has been offering auto insurance coverage, including RV & Motorhome Insurance for nearly two and a half decades. Based in Barrie, we service clients throughout Ontario, including the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
For more information about whether wildlife vehicle collisions is covered under your comprehensive vehicle insurance policy, or if you have any questions, please contact us at 1-866-955-8386 or request an insurance quote online.
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