Approximately every 2.5 minutes there is a wildlife accident involving large mammals in Germany. In number there are about 250,000 a year. Not only animals but people too are repeatedly harmed. The time change from winter to summer time on Sunday (March 26) significantly increases the risk of accidents involving wild animals. Because the morning rush hour sometimes falls again at dusk, when wild animals such as deer, deer and wild boar are also increasingly on the move.
Motorists should therefore be particularly vigilant - especially in forest areas, on the edges of fields and in places where deer crossing signs are posted. You should also drive with particular care on newly built roads. Because wild animals use familiar paths and do not change their route because of the new road. In concrete terms, this means: drive with foresight, reduce speed and keep a sufficient distance from the vehicle in front. "Animals know neither traffic rules nor time changes. If you drive at critical points at 60 km/h instead of 80 km/h, you shorten your braking distance by around 20 meters and thus have a significantly better chance of getting your vehicle to a standstill in time," warns Herbert Fuss, traffic expert of the ADAC Mittelrhein in a press release.
If you encounter a wild animal on the side of the road, you should reduce your speed immediately. The Wuppertal police warn that it cannot be ruled out that it will jump in front of the vehicle in the next moment. After all, animals cannot judge the speed of a vehicle. In addition, one should watch out for stragglers; Wild boar, roe deer and other species often live in groups. Even if there are no more animals to be seen, you should continue driving slowly afterwards.
On the other hand, if the animal is on the street, you should try to drive it away by honking your horn – but not using your headlights. The effect "rather the opposite," explains the ADAC traffic expert Fuss. The bright light confuses the animals and deprives them of any possibility of orientation, "so that they just stay put and don't run on". Instead, stopping down is advisable here to enable the animal to escape.
If you can't brake in time, the German Hunting Association advises: "It's better to have a controlled impact than an uncontrolled evasion." Because a hasty evasive maneuver can end up in oncoming traffic or a tree. And this often ends fatally, warns the Wuppertal police.
According to a recent study by the "Tierfund-Cadastre" of the German Hunting Association in cooperation with the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel, the risk of accidents is particularly high from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. However, a wildlife accident can also occur at any other time of the day or at night. According to this, most wild animals die in April and May. The most common accidents involve deer, but smaller animals are also affected.
In the event of such an accident, you should - as in a normal accident - switch on the hazard warning lights, put on the high-visibility vest and secure the scene of the accident with a warning triangle. After that, it is important to go to a safe area and call the police or the hunting tenant. Here you should obtain a wildlife damage certificate for claims settlement from the car insurance company. The partially comprehensive insurance covers damage to the vehicle caused by furry game, such as deer, deer, fox or rabbit. In the case of vehicle damage involving birds, on the other hand, not all partially comprehensive insurance policies apply, so that fully comprehensive insurance may be necessary. It should be taken into account that the claim is associated with a downgrading to a less favorable no-claims class, according to Fuss.
In many federal states there is even an obligation to report wildlife accidents. Even if the animal has run away, you should wait for the police at the scene of the accident, after all, the person authorized to hunt must be informed.
According to the "Tierfund-Cadastre", 3,000 people are injured in wildlife accidents every year. If personal injury has actually occurred, you should call the emergency services on 112 and provide first aid. Under no circumstances may the game struck be removed from the scene of the accident. Otherwise, a display could threaten, explains ADAC traffic expert Fuss. You can also injure yourself when touching the animal, which is why you should keep a sufficient distance from the animal. His reaction is unpredictable, says the Wuppertal police. If the animal was killed in the accident, you should only touch it with gloves because of the risk of infection and pull it off the road as far as possible. In this way, subsequent accidents can be avoided.
After the accident, you can inform the "Tierfund-Cadastre" about it. This leads a nationwide project to record wildlife accidents, which should contribute to animal welfare and at the same time increase safety on the roads. Road users can report a corresponding animal find online or in an app provided for this purpose.
To avoid an accident with a wild animal in the first place, you should drive carefully in remote places. The police also recommend taking part in driver safety training.
Sources: ADAC (1), ADAC (2), German Hunting Association, Wuppertal Police