It’s road trip season and the primary goal is to make it to your destination safely. Unfortunately, there is the possibility your safety may be compromised by wildlife on the road. Animals are unpredictable, and despite your best precautions, one may cause a collision with your vehicle.
If an animal collision does occur, do your best to stay calm and follow these five steps:
- Find a safe place to pull over to the side of the road and stop the vehicle.
- Avoid getting too close to the animal if it is still alive. Even if it appears severely injured it can be unpredictable and it is best to let the authorities handle. To report an injured or deceased animal in Alberta call Alberta Fish and Wildlife or in Ontario you can contact the Ministry of Natural Resources.
- Look for evidence of damage to your vehicle caused by the animal and call police if there is damage.
- Take photos of your vehicle.
- Call your insurance company as soon as possible.
Be prepared to provide the following details to your insurance provider:
- Insurance policy number.
- Make, model, year, and license plate number of the vehicle.
- Location of the accident.
- Can the vehicle still be driven or will a tow truck be required? Will a rental car be needed?
- Name and badge number of the investigating police officer if one was dispatched to the scene.
You may not be able to avoid hitting an animal but you can avoid the stress of not knowing what to do by being prepared. Part of being prepared means understanding your auto insurance coverage. Typically, if you hit an animal that was already lying on the road it would be covered by your collision insurance but if you hit an animal that jumps in front of you it would be covered under your comprehensive insurance. That being said, the distinction between what falls under collision versus comprehensive coverage can vary between insurance providers and best to contact your BrokerLink broker to ensure you have the coverage you need.
Finally, you can minimize your chances of getting into an animal collision by following these driving tips:
- Try to avoid driving at dawn or dusk. Many animals are most active at these times of the day.
- Drive the speed limit and avoid driving distractions.
- Use your high beams if driving at night.
- If a collision is inevitable do not swerve, it’s better to hit the animal than to put yourself in greater danger by hitting a tree or oncoming traffic.