What Should You Do After Hitting an Animal on the Road?
Fall is the season when you’re most likely to see wild animals on the side of the road. Unfortunately, this has grim consequences sometimes. According to the Ministère des Transports du Québec, over 7,500 accidents involving large animals (deer, moose, caribou, black bears, etc.) happen each year in our province. Isn’t it crazy?
Safety is key to avoid this kind of situation. Keep in mind that wild animals can cross the road at any moment and take you by surprise. Don’t hesitate to slow down on country roads and mountainous highways, especially when you see a sign with a deer on it.
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By the way, October and November are the months when deer are moving the most, because it’s mating season for them. Be careful especially at dawn and dusk. When possible, use the high beams to see farther ahead and on both sides of the road.
If you encounter a member of the animal Kingdom, decelerate to reduce the force of the impact, or try to scare the animal away by honking and flashing your headlamps if you can. Then turn on your hazard lights to notify the other drivers of the danger.
If You Couldn't Avoid It ...
A dead animal on the road can cause an accident, that’s why you should report it right away. In Quebec, the law requires you to declare the event if the animal weighs over 25 kilograms (according to your estimation, because no one will force you to put it on a scale!). If in doubt, don’t take a chance and call the authorities.
Also, remember that some animals must be reported to Wildlife Protection even if they are under 25 kilograms; black bears, moose, and coyotes for example.
If you hit a farm or domestic animal, you must stop and try to find its owner. If you can’t, you must report the accident at the nearest police station.
And if your vehicle has sustained damage, you must tell your insurer about it as soon as possible. Depending on your car insurance policy’s coverage, you could be compensated. If so, repair work will be done, or the whole vehicle will be declared a total loss and will be replaced.