Wild animals travel around them in search of food and generally do so along the usual roads or areas. But there are times that these roads are crossed by secondary or rural roads or that, without interceding in any way, they are in the middle of their natural habitat, and therefore it is very easy to cross them at any time. Besides, the increasing volume of traffic, especially in the summer, causes an increase in the number of encounters between animals and vehicles on these types of roads, especially at sunset or at night.
According to figures from the DGT, more than 20,000 traffic accidents were caused by wild animals in Spain during 2017. The Autonomous Communities with the highest accident rate of this type are Castilla León, Galicia, and Catalonia.
Animals are not aware of the danger they face. If at the moment they cross the road, there is a vehicle traveling at a certain speed along the same road; in most cases, the accident is inevitable, as the driver has very little reaction time and has few seconds to react.
It is up to the driver to evaluate what is most convenient and if it is possible to flip or make a sudden maneuver.
What to do in case of abuse?
If the accident finally occurs, from Drive Smart, they recommend slowing down smoothly to stop the vehicle to avoid greater risks to other drivers.
Once the vehicle parked in a safe place, you must leave the interior with the reflective vest and signal the accident with the triangle. Next, we must notify the Civil Guard to go to the place of the outrage and assess the facts.
If the animal’s body is impeding circulation, it is advisable to try to remove it to the shoulder to avoid more accidents. Otherwise, the Civil Guard may consider that it is endangering the movement, and the sanction can reach up to 200 euros.
But whose responsibility is it?
Since the Road Safety Law reformed in 2014, if it is a hunting species, as a general rule the responsibility of the outrage corresponds to the driver of the vehicle, so it will be the insurance who should be responsible for expenses and damages that occur in other vehicles due to the accident.
There are only two situations in which the driver of the vehicle that has run over the animal is exempt from responsibility:
- That the accident occurs as a direct consequence of the action of the hunt or during the subsequent 12 hours. The person responsible, in this case, would be the owner of the private preserve.
- If the fence is not in good condition or there is no sign indicating that there may be loose animals.
If instead, it is a pet, the situation is much simpler: the responsibility belongs to the owner of the animal was loose. Because these animals usually identified with a chip, it will be easy to locate the owner and claim compensation for damages suffered due to the accident.
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Have you had an accident in which an animal was involved? Did you know how to act? Tell us in the comments.