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Wildlife on Roads
How to avoid accidents with wildlife on the road

Fox killed in traffic acident - Photo  Copyright 2003 Gary Bradley
Photo: G. Bradley

When you take a journey by car through the countryside it can be quite disturbing to see the number of dead animals lying in, or at the side of the road. Many of our mammals are nocturnal, and they frequently need to cross roads after dark to find food. It's almost inevitable that some will make contact with traffic.

Here's a few tips to help avoid damaging your car and prevent injuring any wildlife on the roads...

1. Be aware of all the wildlife that moves about at night including foxes, badgers, hedgehogs, deer and owls. Remind yourself as you drive that any of these animals could run/fly out at any moment.

2. As with most road accidents speed is a big factor. Driving more slowly at night will give you a better chance of avoiding a collision.

3. Take extra care when you see warning signs for wildlife.

Warning - Deer  Warning - Wild Horses or Ponies

They're put there to protect you and the wildlife, and are positioned at areas where animals have been known to jump out on traffic. 

4. When you're driving after dark, scan both sides of the road ahead for wildlife, this will also help to keep you alert.

5. All animals react differently when they are caught in car headlights. If you see an animal in the road, slow down, to allow the animal move off the road safely. Avoid sudden braking or swerving to avoid the animal. This could lead to a worse accident.

6. Roads which have steep banks on each side can work like a trap for animals. Take extra care on these roads.

7. Never throw apple cores or other food scraps from your car. This attracts wildlife to feed on roads and increases the risk of an accident.

8. If you find an injured animal on the road, and it's safe to do so (not in a bend), put your hazard lights on and stop to see if the animal can be helped. Make sure you are visible to other road users. Don't put yourself in danger. If the animal is still alive, but not moving, phone the nearest wildlife hospital for advice - numbers here

9. If the animal is dead move it away from the road so it doesn't attract other wildlife.

10. Only transport an injured animal in your car if you have a suitable container. If the animal suddenly wakes up and starts trying to get out it could cause another accident.

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