The risk of being involved in a collision with a wild animal is particularly high in autumn due to the hunting season. Startled forest creatures sometimes run away across roads. They are more likely to be found at dawn and dusk. Unfortunately, although there are game fences in place, animals regularly cross them on the motorways and become a hazard to motorists. The consequences are often disastrous and commonly underestimated.
Wild animal behaviour is difficult to predict. They often run to the side of the road ahead of a vehicle and only jump onto the road at the last moment. They are also generally not alone, but move in groups.
So what is the best way to drive on roads where game is frequently encountered? First and foremost, all passengers must wear their seat belts. If they don’t, a collision could have fatal consequences. It is also extremely important to pay attention to signs that indicate the frequent passage of game. Drivers in these areas are advised to exercise caution and reduce their speed. It is also important to keep an eye on both sides of the road at all times. These measures make any collisions that do occur less frequent and their consequences less serious, if they cannot be avoided.
If you do encounter game on the road, there are also some rules to observe. If there is an animal at the side of the road, you should reduce your speed and be prepared to brake in case of a sudden reaction. If it is directly in front of you on the road, the only thing that can help is emergency braking. If the animal cannot be safely avoided due to traffic or road conditions, it is better to collide with it than to hit a tree or drive into oncoming traffic. You should never risk an evasive manoeuvre when it comes to small animals such as hares or foxes. Swerving accidents are much more likely to be fatal than collisions with animals.
An accident involving wildlife must be reported to the police in all circumstances. The police will then pass on the information to the responsible forest ranger. If the animal is injured, do not approach it under any circumstances. Leave that to a veterinarian. Any person who transports game without the permission of the authorities is liable to prosecution.
It is also important that you document the accident with photographs. This is essential if the claim is to be reported to the insurance company afterwards. Useful point to know: from 1 April 2020, the police will no longer issue game accident certificates, which are no longer required by insurance companies.
Also: if the car of an ACL member is damaged as a result of a collision with game on the public road, the Automobile Club will pay the resulting repair costs of up to €500 once a year, provided that these costs are not covered by insurance.
For more information, contact ACL by telephone on +352 450045-1 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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