Now in midsummer and the following autumn, there is an increase in wildlife accidents. We explain why this is the case and give you tips on what you can do to avoid a wildlife accident and how you should behave in the event of a wildlife accident.
You can also find out what to do in the event of damage caused by game and which insurance company will pay for the damage to the car.
When does one speak of a wildlife accident??
A wildlife accident is generally defined as a traffic accident in which a wild animal is involved. The wild animal can come into direct contact with the vehicle or. may have collided with another vehicle, or may have merely caused the driver to swerve, resulting in an accident.
Traffic accidents involving pets or livestock are not regularly referred to as wildlife accidents. These accidents are to be considered also regarding the damage regulation differently, since here the owner and/or. the keeper’s liability / business liability of z.B. dog, cow or horse has to pay for the damage incurred.
How to prevent a deer accident?
From mid-July to mid-late August, motorists must increasingly expect to encounter roe deer at any time of day. During these two summer months, the deer are in the mating season known as the leaf season. Accordingly "blind" behave above all the roebucks, so that it must be always counted on the fact that such an animal runs on the road, because it is just on the track of a delightful "smell".
In addition, especially in the fall, due to the earlier onset of dusk, increased wildlife encounters on the road are to be expected.
Special caution is required at dawn and dusk: Wild animals are particularly active between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. and between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m., which is something to keep in mind!
Preventing a deer accident:
Be careful in vulnerable areas and get off the gas
Wildlife accidents occur a good 40% on forest routes and about 33% on routes along fields and meadows. One should also pay attention to deer crossing signs. These indicate that there are "traditional wildlife migration routes" at the sites in question, creating an increased risk of wildlife encounters. On newly built roads you should also be particularly careful, because animals also continue to follow their usual paths.
Who is on the road in appropriate areas, should adjust his speed accordingly to the risk – so usually significantly reduce, be particularly attentive and have the hard shoulder in view.
A deer accident can be fatal for the driver from 80 km/h onwards!
The higher the speed, the higher the impact weight of the animals. If you are driving at 60 km/h and there is a collision with a deer, the animal has an impact weight of about 800 kg (with a regular own weight of about 25 kg), which acts on the sheet metal of the car. In the case of a wild boar, the impact weight in a wildlife accident at 60 km/h is already 3.5 t, and in the case of a collision with a full-grown red deer, the vehicle is opposed by about 5 t.
In addition to the enormous impact weight, which is given with a game accident with higher speed, one must consider as a motorist also that the braking distance of the vehicle is prolonged with higher speed. The faster you drive, the less time you have to react if an animal suddenly appears on the road in front of your car.
Preventing a deer accident:
An animal rarely comes alone and behavior with animals on the road
With deer – as with other animals such as deer or wild boar that live in groups – it is always to be expected that after one animal, at least one other animal will cross the road. So if an animal has run in front of the car, you should first continue the journey with special care at walking speed.
If there are wild animals next to or on the road, you should reduce your driving speed and, if necessary, drive faster. Also stop completely, whereby one should of course keep an eye on the traffic behind and not "do" an abrupt emergency braking, if this is not necessary. If the high beams are on, dim them immediately because the animals can become disoriented by the glare of the lights.
It may also be appropriate to sound the horn if the animals do not move away of their own accord. – The noise of the car horn scares away most animals. Some caution may be required, however, if it is a rutting roebuck or deer buck. These animals are sometimes in a very "woozy" state and can then be quite unpredictable, so it can make sense to wait in the vehicle until the buck or bull clears the road of its own accord.
If the deer accident is no longer avoidable
If a collision with an animal can no longer be avoided, it is usually more sensible to hold the steering wheel properly and keep straight on it instead of taking evasive action. Evasive maneuvers very often end up in oncoming traffic or in front of a tree, so it is better to keep the vehicle in its own lane after emergency braking.
How to behave in case of a wildlife accident?
If, despite all caution, a wildlife accident has occurred, put on your high-visibility vest and secure the scene of the accident (switch on hazard warning lights, set up a warning triangle). If people are injured, you should of course also take care of them.
Also, notify the police and wait for the officers to arrive.
If the hitting of an animal is not reported, it is not a hit-and-run incident. However, there is a violation of the animal protection law, which could be punished. In addition, in some federal states there is an obligation to report injured animals.
You should not touch an animal that is still alive and has been hit by a car, so as not to panic it further. In addition, the risk of disease transmission through contact is basically possible. You must also not put the injured animal out of its misery on your own authority. In this case, only hunters and veterinarians are authorized to kill the animal.
If the animal has died as a result of the accident, you should take care of it, if necessary. remove it from the road to avoid subsequent accidents. However, this should also happen only with gloves and only if you can assess the risk accurately.
A dead animal must not be taken along. This action is considered as poaching, which is punishable by law.
The police will contact the responsible hunting leaseholder / forester. From the hunting leaseholder / forester you will receive a so-called game damage certificate. This certificate is to be presented to the car insurance company. In addition, it is advisable to take photos of the damage caused to the vehicle for the insurance company.
Be sure to report a wildlife accident even if the animal involved in the accident has moved away from the scene (in a state of shock). In this case, the hunting tenant will take care of the necessary follow-up search and attempt to locate the injured animal and, if necessary. from its suffering. If you have observed the escape of the animal, note the direction it took and pass it on to the hunting leaseholder to make it easier for him to search for the animal.
In order to make the roads safer and to reduce the number of accidents with wild animals, there is a project called "Tierfund-Kataster". Here u.a. report game accidents or dead animals on the road via free app.
Wildlife accident and insurance:
Who pays for game damage to the car?
For damage caused by game as a result of a game accident, only the partial or comprehensive insurance will pay for the car insurance. In order for the insurance company to process the case, a wildlife accident certificate is always required, issued by the responsible hunting leaseholder or forester.
If the vehicle is damaged due to an evasive maneuver, the insurance company will usually only settle the claim if it can be shown that the evasive maneuver prevented greater damage. Here, the statements of witnesses are usually helpful as evidence. If, however, the evasion was for small animals to which, in addition to birds, rabbits or foxes are also counted, it is very likely that the car insurance company will refuse to settle the claim.
By the way, most insurance policies only cover damage involving furred game animals. Hairy deer include u.a. Deer, feral hogs, rabbits or foxes. Damage caused by feathered game such as pheasants, on the other hand, is not regulated. Worthwhile here if applicable. The expansion of insurance coverage to include "animals of all kinds". With extended liability for wildlife damage, many insurers list included animals individually. Other companies offer the option of covering damage caused by animals of all kinds as part of their partial coverage insurance, so that accidental damage caused by pets such as dogs or farm animals such as goats or rare wild animals such as wolves is also covered.