It’s important for drivers to be aware of their surroundings. And while they’re paying attention for how others on the road are driving, it’s important that they also keep their eyes open for other driving dangers such as animals. While many may assume it’s not common to be involved in an accident with an animal, animal collisions actually account for approximately 45,000 accidents every year in Canada. With this being said, animal collisions are happening on Canadian roads and regardless of how cautious of a driver you are, you need to know what to do after you’ve been involved in one.
First Steps To Take After Being Involved In An Animal Collision
Pull Over In A Safe Area
The first thing you should do after you’ve hit an animal while driving is ensure the safety of yourself, and others involved. This includes ensuring that everyone in your vehicle and other vehicles that may have been involved are okay. Additionally, you will want to ensure that your vehicle is pulled over to the side of the road in a safe location (so you are out of the way of oncoming vehicles), with your hazards ‘on’.
If you need immediate help, or if someone is injured, call 9-1-1.
Second, it’s important that you take the time to calm down. Regardless of if it was a large, or small animal, being involved in an accident can be traumatic. So take a deep breath and clear your head so you can assess the situation properly.
Assess The Situation
After you’ve taken a moment to calm down, check to see where the animal involved in the collision is located as there are some instances when drivers are unable to identify the animal. Either it has run off, or the accident was caused because the driver swerved to avoid hitting the animal, allowing it to vacate the area. But if you find that the animal appears injured, it’s important that you do not touch it. While it may seem harmless, the animal could be hurt or scared, causing it to react unpredictably. If the animal appears injured, it’s often recommended for drivers to contact the local Ontario SPCA Animal Centre, affiliated Humane Society or municipal animal control for help in accessing the situation as they may be able to rescue the animal. Additionally, if the animal is blocking traffic due to its size or location, and is creating a hazard for other drivers, it’s recommended that you call the local police to notify them and request assistance.
Assessing Your Vehicle
Depending on the size of the animal that was involved in the accident, or extent of the accident if you swerved to avoid the collision, always take a moment to assess your vehicle and take photos of the scene, and any damage. Specifically look for anything that is broken, cracked or leaking. If everything appears to be okay and you feel as though the vehicle is safe to drive, slowly allow the car to coast with your four-way blinkers ‘on’, listening to any sounds that the car makes. From there, it’s suggested that you slowly accelerate to normal speed, and continue to listen for any unusual sounds. If you begin to hear unusual noises, or your vehicle no longer feels ‘right’ when you’re driving at any point, it’s recommended to again pull over to a safe location, and call a tow truck or your trusted mechanic.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Regardless of if your vehicle has minor damage, or is unfit to drive, it’s always recommended that you speak with your insurance provider about the collision. Contacting them to discuss the event, and the damage that may have occurred is important as you likely have protection through your collision coverage. So be prepared to provide your broker with as many details as possible to help them move you seamlessly and quickly through the claims process. For any questions regardless of if it’s about a past accident, or the coverage your policy offers, contact your Cambridge Insurance broker today! We’ll be more than happy to explain everything that your policy includes, and whether you may want to consider purchasing additional coverage, so you’re protected, no matter what happens while you’re driving.