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How to avoid animal collisions

Taking a road trip? Whether you’re heading to a national park or just cruising the highway outside of town, you may encounter wildlife on the road. Learn the steps you can take to avoid an animal collision and what to do if it happens to you.

Reduce the risks

Wild animals can be unpredictable. An animal grazing in the ditch can jump in front of your car without warning. Here’s how to reduce the risks:

  • Keep your seatbelt buckled.
  • Don’t drive distracted. Make sure you are alert and sober.
  • Keep your windshield and headlights clean.
  • If you’re driving at night, use high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic.
  • Try to avoid driving at dawn and dusk when wild animals are most active and sun glare can reduce visibility.

If you see a wild animal

  • Slow down. You’ll have more time to react at slower speeds.
  • Use your horn or flash your lights to help warn the animal away.
  • Grip the steering wheel and stay on the road. Stay in control.
  • If you have time, warn vehicles behind you by pumping your breaks or turning on your hazard lights.

If you can't avoid the animal

If you can’t avoid a collision, aim to keep yourself, your passengers, and other drivers safe. Drive towards the spot the animal is coming from, not where it is going. Brake firmly and quickly, then steer your vehicle to strike the animal at an angle. Let up on the brake just before you hit the animal. This reduces the chances of the animal coming through your windshield.

If you hit an animal

  • Pull off the road wherever it’s safe to do so.
  • Turn on your hazard lights.
  • If the animal is lying in the road, direct your headlights towards it so other drivers can see it.
  • Don’t approach the animal—an injured animal can be very dangerous.

Who to contact after an accident:

It’s important to report collisions with larger animals so highway managers can identify areas where wildlife collisions are frequent and take steps to reduce the risks in those areas. If you’re driving in another province, reporting requirements may be different.;

  • If your vehicle is damaged or if anyone is injured, call 911 or the RCMP and contact your insurance company for help and to make a claim.
  • If you’re driving in Quebec, you must report a collision with certain animals to a wildlife protection officer.
  • If you’re driving in Ontario and you hit a deer or a moose, you must report the accident to the local police or the Ministry of Natural Resources.
  • If you’re driving in British Columbia, contact the Conservation Officer Service. 
  • If you’re driving in a national park, contact the park wardens. Reporting the exact location helps wardens monitor injured animals and recover dead ones. Quick removal prevents other animals from being attracted to the highway.

As an APEGA member, you get access to customized home and auto insurance, convenient online services, and licensed advisors who will tailor your coverage to your specific needs. That means you can spend less time stressing over insurance, and more time focusing on the moments that really matter. The Personal has your back with exclusive group rates not available to the public, 24/7 claims support, and additional tips and tricks like these to help you keep your property protected. 

This article is being provided by APEGA on behalf of The Personal which has a group sponsorship agreement with regards to home and auto insurance for our members.

The Personal refers to The Personal General Insurance Inc. in Quebec and The Personal Insurance Company in all other provinces and territories of Canada.The information and advice in this article are provided for informational purposes only. The Personal shall not be liable for any damages arising from any reliance upon such information or advice. The Personal recommends using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, expert advice.

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