Car accidents are one of the most common causes of death for many native wildlife species. In one German Wildlife Centre, based in Hamburg, they take in around 300 animals injured in car accidents every year alone. Although animals suffer from traffic collisions year around, this peaks especially in autumn. The mating season of red deer and fallow deer leads to increased game traffic. Combined with the clocks going back an hour in the Northern hemisphere as the daylight saving time ends, many animals fall victims to traffic accidents. FOUR PAWS advises particular caution around this time and throughout the year to avoid any potential accidents.
This is how you can reduce the risk of accidents involving game:
- Many animals prefer to be on the move at night or at dusk. Be especially careful at these times of the day.
- In addition to deer traffic, poor visibility in autumn increases the risk of accidents. Adjust your speed to the visibility conditions.
- Drivers should take the danger sign 'Wildlife Crossing' seriously, reduce their speed and keep an eye on the edge of the road.
- As soon as an animal comes into view, drivers should switch to dipped headlights so that the animals are not blinded.
- Many animals are travelling in groups: If one appears, you must expect more animals. Therefore, do not accelerate again immediately after an animal has crossed the road.
- Risky evasive manoeuvres are not advisable, as they also endanger other road users.
What to do in the event of a wildlife accident:
- Once the animal and the vehicle are on a collision course, however, an accident can usually no longer be prevented.
- Once the accident has occurred, the accident site must be secured immediately and the police called.
- Only after consultation with the responsible hunting leaseholder may the dead animal be cleared from the roadway to prevent further accidents.
- If the animal is still alive but too badly injured to escape, the police will contact the nearest wildlife centre. They will pick it up at the scene of the accident and take care of it professionally.
- It is strongly advised not to rescue the animal on your own in order not to endanger the animal and humans any further.