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What to do if you hit an animal while driving

When you are driving rural country roads outside of Visalia, especially in the early morning hours or at dusk, you are more than likely to at one point to encounter an animal in the road. Hopefully, you’ll be able to maneuver and avoid hitting that deer, coyote or stray dog. However, about 253,000 animal-vehicle accidents happen each year in the United States.

You need to know what to do if you end up hitting an animal with your vehicle. Here five important tips for handling an animal-vehicle accident:

  1. Stay calm as you pull over and stop your car. You want to ensure you are safely out of the way of any other motorists on the road and you haven’t been injured in the crash.
  2. Approach the animal carefully. You don’t want to touch it or get to close because it may try to attack you or bite you if it can.
  3. Report the accident to police. You want authorities to know so that animal control can come and remove the injured or dead animal. Police also can help divert traffic from injuring the animal further. Finally, by making a police report, you can document the accident for your insurance claim.
  4. Report the accident to your insurance agent. You can help document your vehicle damage by providing photographs of the scene and information about how the accident occurred.
  5. Make sure your car is OK to drive. You want to make sure your tires aren’t flat, and your car isn’t leaking any fluid or missing any parts. If your car is inoperable or not safe to drive, you’ll need to call a tow truck.

Running over an animal with your car can be traumatic. If you are an animal lover, you may feel terrible about injuring or killing another creature. However, you need to realize that by calling animal control right away, you limited the animal’s suffering the best you could.

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