What to Do When the Roads Are Rammed This Summer
The road is a visually chaotic place - one that reflects our real lives, with its twists, turns, peaks, troughs and obstacles.
Driving in the summer can be especially busy on the eyes: more cyclists, more pedestrians, more road users.
A horrifying fact: with the long summer evenings, death and injury rates increase – children are at risk as much as 20% more in summer than in winter of being involved in a road traffic accident.
But back to something lighter; summer brings more flora and fauna.
Ahh yes, animals. Those bounding delights!
Just as we take care to reduce speed and remain alert for humans, should we try and do the same for them? Yes - as long as it’s not going to bring harm to you or others.
Sadly, thousands of animals are killed every year on the roads.
Are Ewe Driving Safely?
Sometimes it can’t be helped – if you’re driving at night, you might not see the animal until it’s too late, or if you’re driving at 50mph on the dual carriageway, you’re not going to put yourself or others at risk by emergency-stopping.
None of us want it to happen – here are some things you can do to reduce the risk of having an accident:
- Pay attention to all road signs that’ll tell you of any oncoming distractions or animals so you know to reduce your speed.
- Don’t exceed speed limits and slow down if you’re driving in the countryside.
- If you’re planning to go for an alcoholic beverage in the sun, do not Get a taxi or allocate a designated driver!
- If it’s a hot and stuffy day, make sure the car is at a comfortable temperature before you set off – heat can make us sleepy.
- Just bought a magnum and worried it’ll melt? Don’t eat or drink while driving – it increases your reaction time by about 44%. Enjoy that ice-cream before driving off!
- If you’re taking your pets out to enjoy a wander, make sure they’re secured appropriately in your vehicle - they can be a major distraction, not to mention the fine can be huge.
For more information on distracted driving, read our article here.
Animals on the Road: The Law
The Road Traffic Act states that the driver has a duty to stop, report the accident and provide their details if damage is caused to an animal. Whether they are injured or have been killed, it must be reported.
Legally, the police must be contacted if you have hit any of the following animals:
- Asses (officer, i’ve collided into a large ass!)
- Mules (we're sure there are many knocking about on your daily commute)
- Dogs (no love for cats sorry – they don’t have to be reported)
People are often unsure as to whether it is illegal to emergency stop for an animal on the road. By all means, you are entitled to slow down and stop for an animal – whether it’s a bouncing toad or a waddling chicken.
However, if you fail to take into consideration the safety of those around you or the passengers in your car, you could be deemed liable should it cause an accident.
Other motorists should never be put in danger. So don’t emergency break if this could be the case - be fully aware of your surroundings first.
Hitting larger animals such as the ones listed above could cause personal injury to you, passengers or other drivers, so if the other driver was to make a compensation claim against you and your actions encouraged the accident to occur, you would be the one at fault.
The Rules of Roadkill – Myth or Fact?
If you saw a dead animal on the side of the road, would you put it in the boot to take home for dinner?
Well, some people would and do! There is a law on this, however. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (s11 on the Prevention of Poaching) states:
“Any person who intentionally or recklessly kills, injures or takes any wild animal is guilty of an offence”.
If you were to hit an animal, then it is forbidden to take it home for supper (it’s poaching). On the other hand, if you were directly behind the person that did, there is no rule to say you couldn’t! You’d have to be able to prove that you didn’t kill it, though.
You’re better off just reporting it and leaving it there. Sorry! You don’t want to be accused of hitting it on purpose because you were dying for a snack!
What to Do If You Hit an Animal
So if the dreaded situation does happen, make sure you do the following (just as you would in a collision involving another vehicle):
- Stop and pull over safely and in a way that doesn’t put you or other drivers at risk.
- Report the incident.
- Take photos of the scene, in case you decide to claim later on.
- Get details of anyone else involved, or any witnesses.
- If you hit a dog or cat, and you think it’s safe, try to find contact details on their collar and get in touch with the owner if you can.
- If you want to help the animal because it’s injured or you don’t want to approach the cat or dog because it seems unsafe to do so, do not attempt it yourself – contact the RSPCA straight away on 0300 1234 999.
For any other animals not mentioned here, the best thing would be to report it to the police and your local council. Swans, for example, are actually owned by the Crown - if you have an incident with one, don’t attempt to go near it – just report it to your local council.
And finally, a fun fact from us…
Does Wales Really Have the Most Sheep in the UK?
Yes – Wales is inundated with sheep. In fact, they outnumber Welsh people by approximately three to one!
If you’re venturing to Wales this summer (which you should because it’s heavenly) – beware! Sheep own their roads – they’re stubborn and are often not startled by oncoming vehicles. You’ll need to take extra care and drive slower than usual!
Non Fault Claims
If you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident, whether it’s involving an animal or another motorist, at Non Fault Claims we can assist you with a replacement car or help with making a claim for compensation.
When it comes to animals - you may require help determining who is at fault – we can help you with this. You can rest assured that a herd of cows won’t turn up in court.
Contact us today for more information or advice!