While most of us do not want to hit the animal, swerving out of the way could damage you, your car, your surroundings or other people. As bad as it may sound, it's better to hit the smaller animal than swerve around it.
If it happens that you aren't near any other drivers or close surroundings and are driving at a slower speed, maybe you can swerve slightly to avoid the animal. But if there is a ditch or the roadway is busy, then it's best not to.If you decide to swerve, try to slow down a bit before gently turning the wheel towards where the animal came from, since they usually keep going in their path. Make sure there is no one behind you too. If you brake hard and jerk the wheel, you could do some serious damage and quite possibly still hit the animal, since they get very panicy in he road.
If you are able to stop the car, don't brake hard and make sure no one is behind you. Also, make sure you are not on a highway or other major roadway. You stopping to avoid an animal, could be an accident and/or death.
There have been numerous reports on the news about people who swerve out of the road, for likely an animal, that end up dead in a ditch; don't be that statistic.
Now for larger animals, you should probably swerve out of the way, but be mindful if you swerve and jerk the car, it could roll. A large deer, livestock or animals of that size can do major damage to you, your car and possible surroundings. They could go through the windshield and thrash around due to a panic state. I know we have all heard that a deer could kick someone to death in a car accident, so try to avoid that. If you do find yourself in an unavoidable collision with a large animal, duck down and lower your seat, if possible, to avoid trauma to head and body from the animal.
So, the same goes with swerving for small animals: brake slowly and gently turn the wheel. If possible, stop the vehicle and wait for the animal to continue on it's way before proceeding.
If you hit someone's pet
If you accidently hit someone's pet, stop and get out of the car if it's safe, then see if the pet is okay, at a safe distance. A lot of pets will get erratic and dangerous if they are injured. If you are close enough to see their tags or know who it belongs to, make an effort to contact the owner as soon as possible. If you can' get a hold of the owner, for any reason, call the police and let them know the situation and description of the animal; it may be registered.
If you are not able to stop the car and/or get out to check on the pet, call the police and let them know what happened and as much of a description as possible.
Some people offer to pay for the medical bills as a nice gesture, but it is not required. However, sometimes these accidents can end up in court.
If you car gets damaged
Call your insurance company if the damage seems bad, but if it's just a headlight, you can just go to an auto body shop (like MEDFORD AUTO BODY) and get an estimate. If the damage is more than you thought, you can call your insurance company afterward. Just be prompt with getting the estimate and calling the insurance company.
Insurance companies will always look for animal fur and other body parts all along the side of the car, in the grills, on the headlights and possibly under the hood. Basically anywhere you have damage.
Regain control if your car as soon as possible and pull over, then check to see if the roadway is clear. If it's clear, assess the damage to see if you are able to drive again, then see if the animal or other people or cars involved are around. If it is, don't go near the animal and see if everyone is okay. If necessary, call an ambulance, then the police to notify them of the accident and if the animal is in the road. Then follow THESE PROCEDURES to follow through with the accident.
What to do with a dead or injured animal
If the animal is injured, some people take it upon themselves to nurse the animal back to health or take it to some sort of shelter or hospital. If you cannot or do not want to, you can either leave it alone or call the police if it's a large animal blocking the roadway.
- Nowadays the roads are becoming more and more overpopulated with the growing housing and commercial properties.
- If you notice an area that is popular with animal crossings, drive a bit slower than usual.
- Use your high beams at night on unpopulated areas to have a visual on any stray animals on the road.