5 tips to ensure your own safety while abiding the law

It goes without saying that no one wants to hit an animal while behind the wheel. Unfortunately, each year there are more than 5,000 motor vehicle accidents involving animals in Québec. Generally, most of them have few repercussions on drivers or passengers.
What to do in the event of a collision involving an animal:
  1. Immediately stop your vehicle, in a safe place if at all possible. Ideally, drive over to the shoulder of the road, as far away from traffic as possible. Turn on your emergency flashers.
  2. Evaluate the situation. Check to determine whether anyone is injured or otherwise needs assistance. Determine if the vehicle can still operate. Check whether you hit a small or large animal (it’s not always obvious at the time of the impact).
  3. Call emergency services (911). You are legally obligated to report any accident involving a collision with an animal weighing more than 25 kg, and can be fined if you fail to do so. There is also a list of animals for which all accidents or collisions must absolutely be declared (e.g., wild turkeys).
    If unsure, the best thing to do is declare any collision, even minor ones. At the very least, this will allow the authorities to remove the carcass from the road.
  4. Never go near an injured animal! Their reaction can be unpredictable, and there’s always the chance that they could be carriers of a number of diseases. 
  5. Even if your vehicle is still running, make sure to have it inspected as quickly as possible. The collision may have resulted in damage that isn’t visible but which could pose a safety threat. If applicable, you can always submit the matter to your insurance company.
Bien avant la collision, vous pouvez réduire grandement les risques en adaptant votre conduite. Les accidents se produisent généralement entre la tombée du jour et le lever du soleil. Ralentissez et soyez aux aguets en balayant du regard non seulement la route, mais aussi les côtés de celle-ci.

Lorsqu’on installe des panneaux de signalisation qui vous avertissent de la présence d’animaux, c’est que vous êtes dans un secteur particulièrement à risque : soyez doublement vigilant. Si vous repérez le reflet des yeux d’un ou de plusieurs animaux, ralentissez immédiatement et ne prenez pas pour acquis que l’animal prendra la décision logique!

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