You’re probably excited to get out there and hit the open road after your winter hibernation.
But humans aren’t the only ones ready to enjoy the lovely spring weather. Don’t forget: you also have to share the highway with several animals and a few (or sometimes many) less than perfect drivers.
In the unfortunate event you hit a deer, moose, or other large animal, do you know what to do? Which steps should you take?
Hopefully you won’t need to use this information, but it’s always better to be over prepared rather than under prepared – especially when your safety is in question.
It’s Spring: Watch out for Our Animal Friends on the Road
Spring is when animals make their way out of the forest and into open areas: just like that wide stretch of open road you love.
Small animals like racoons and shrews are fairly easy to avoid provided you see them in time and can safely slow down. Big animals like moose and deer? Not so much.
Between 1995 and 2001, the New Brunswick Department of Transportation (NBDOT) reported 5,721 collisions involving either deer or moose. These devastating accidents resulted in 22 fatalities and nearly 1,000 injuries.
In fact, deer can come out of nowhere – especially at night. Rural highways throughout the Maritime provinces are definitely beautiful but they also create the perfect environment for animal-vehicle collisions.
How to Avoid Hitting a Deer or Moose
According to the NBDOT, certain factors increase your risk for running into a large animal on the road.
- Proximity to vegetation, forests, water sources, and open landscapes
- The time of day and weather conditions
- Animal seasonal migration, breeding habits, feeding habits, and population
- Vehicle traffic, speed, and traffic flow
- Driver inattention
- Hunting season
- Residential and industrial development
- Preventative measures
As you can see, many of these factors are out of your control. However, several factors also provide you with some autonomy like paying close attention during certain seasons and monitoring your driving habits. This can help make sure you avoid hitting a large animal in the first place.
- Turn on the high beams at night provided there are no other vehicles in your path.
- Don’t swerve: slow down instead. Quickly swerving your vehicle can make the large animal dart back in front of you.
- Always be cautious of your surroundings.
- Always wear your seatbelt.
I Hit a Moose! What Should I Do Next?
Okay, the unthinkable happened: you hit a deer or moose. What should you do next?
Don’t panic. Follow these steps to ensure your safety and the wellbeing of everyone around you.
- First things first: get yourself and your car to a safe place. If possible, move your car to the shoulder and turn your hazard lights on. You don’t want to block traffic – especially at night.
- Call 911. Even if there is no damage to your vehicle or personal injury, you may still need to file an official report. Let the operator know that you hit a deer or large animal and if you need an ambulance for medical attention. If there is damage, you’ll need an official report for insurance purposes.
- Don’t go near the animal. An injured deer or moose can become unpredictable and may kick you.
- Contact your local Ministry of Natural Resources in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, or Prince Edward Island to report the injured or deceased animal.
- Take photos of any damage to your vehicle and the surrounding area. Make sure to check underneath your vehicle for leaking fluids – don’t assume your car is safe to drive.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. (If you have Higgins Insurance, you can use the convenient app to file your claim.)
- Provide all the pertinent information: your vehicle’s make, model, and year, the accident location, your policy number, the police officer’s badge information and report, and whether or not you need a tow and rental car.
Warm Weather Means It’s Road Trip Season. Keep These Driving Tips in Mind
Even without animals, you still have a lot of other drivers to worry about out there on the road. Between intoxicated drivers and distracted drivers, your chances of getting into an accident are always higher when more people are on the road with you.
Keep yourself and your family safe with these driving tips.
- Don’t ever multitask: when you’re driving, your only task is to pay attention and stay safe.
- Assume everyone else can’t see you. It’s a good rule of thumb to assume every other car is distracted and doesn’t see you. Expect the unexpected.
- Slow down in wet road conditions. Give yourself more time to stop if the unexpected happens.
- Keep your toll money within reach. Don’t fiddle with items on the floor or in the cup holders.
- Don’t touch any electronics while driving: even checking a message or changing a song count.
Higgins Insurance Is Here to Help
Higgins Insurance is one of the fastest growing independent insurance brokers across the Maritimes.
We know that navigating the insurance industry isn’t an easy or exciting task – that’s why we’re here to help.
As a family owned business, we strive to treat our clients like family. We ensure you receive the highest quality home, auto, business, or any type of insurance at an affordable rate – Higgins Insurance knows you work hard for your money. We also offer a fully integrated app as well as special group rates for many local unions and professional organizations.
Contact Higgins Insurance today to learn more about our services or request a quote. You can also give us a call anytime at 866-273-2911. We’re always ready to help with claims and quotes or answer any questions you may have.