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What to do after a wildlife accident? Tips for drivers

Unfortunately, when a deer, stag, wild boar, fox or other wild animal suddenly appears on the road, the shock is often followed by a collision between the animal and the car. Many then ask themselves: What to do after a wildlife accident? We have summarized all important information for you below.


The risk of a wildlife accident is particularly high in wooded areas or on dirt roads – Shutterstock / Khomenko Volodymyr

The risk of a wildlife accident is particularly high in wooded areas or on dirt roads – Shutterstock / Khomenko Volodymyr

A significant number of accidents involving wildlife occur on German roads every year. Since the animals cannot judge the speed of cars, they often step carelessly onto the road and crash into each other. The danger on the road is particularly high in the morning and evening hours.

Since this is bad enough – especially for the animal, which rarely survives such an accident – you as a driver should know what to do in the event of an accident, so as not to make the situation worse on the one hand and on the other hand in the To act in the interests of animal welfare and legislation.

How to behave properly in the event of a wildlife accident

If a wildlife accident is unavoidable, you have to slam on the brakes and hold the steering wheel. Important: Do not dodge, as evasive maneuvers usually end in oncoming traffic or in front of a tree and are therefore usually more devastating for you and your passengers than a direct collision with the game. Basically, a controlled accident involving deer, wild boar and the like is better than an uncontrolled one in this case.

By the way: You should not brake hard when approaching small animals such as frogs, hedgehogs or rabbits and risk a rear-end collision. Before the legislature, emergency braking for small animals is considered unnecessary – the insurance companies will not pay in the event of a possible rear-end collision.

What to do after a wildlife accident? Secure the scene of the accident, notify the police

If it crashes, you should definitely keep calm and proceed as follows:

  1. First, stop, turn on your hazard lights and put on your safety vest.
  2. Then secure the scene of the accident by placing the warning triangle behind your car. Approximately 50 meters from the car in built-up areas, 100 meters on country roads and at least 150 meters on the motorway.
  3. If you, passengers or other road users are injured, you must treat the injured and call the emergency services (112).
  4. If the scene of the accident is secured, you must report the accident to the police (110).

Danger: There is no provision for reporting small animals such as hedgehogs or frogs to the police. It is mandatory for larger animals such as fallow deer or wild boar. In concrete terms, this means that if you continue driving without reporting the wildlife accident, it is a criminal offence. Even if an animal that has been hit flees after the wildlife accident, you must report it in the interest of animal welfare.

Do not touch dead or injured animals

Basically, it is advisable not to touch a dead wild animal, as there is a risk of infection – such as rabies. It is best not to touch injured animals at all, as they are scared of death, are aggressive and will defend themselves if necessary. It is best to keep your distance so as not to further frighten and stress the animal.

In the event of an accident with a game, the police usually alert the local forest ranger or hunter, who takes professional care of the injured game. Under no circumstances should you simply take dead or injured animals with you, as this constitutes poaching.

Mother deer leave their young alone in tall grass most of the day for their own protection - Shutterstock / Debbie Steinhausser

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Avoid wildlife accidents: This is what motorists can do

In principle, wildlife accidents can happen almost anywhere. However, there are times and places when the risk of a collision is more likely than usual. To avoid accidents involving wildlife, you should be especially vigilant in the following situations

  • At field edges, forest borders and on forest roads.
  • On well-known paths and in animal territories, which are usually marked with warning signs.
  • During the rutting season, which varies from animal to animal.
  • During the morning and evening hours, as the animals are particularly active here.
  • In autumn, as many animals are already looking for winter quarters here.
  • In the spring, since the rush hour (from March) takes place again at dusk.
  • Generally in the dark season and at night, as the animals are difficult to see in the dark and generally feel safer in the dark.

In this way you can avoid accidents involving wildlife

If you want to avoid accidents involving wildlife, it is crucial to always drive with increased vigilance and at the lowest possible speed – especially in the situations mentioned above, when the risk of an accident with wildlife is particularly high. You should be careful and heed the warnings and slow down, especially on roads where warning signs indicate that there is increased wildlife activity.

If a wild animal jumps in front of your car at a speed of over 80 km/h, the braking distance is usually no longer sufficient. At 80 km/h, most cars have a braking distance of around 55 meters – experience has shown that anything above that ends in a collision.

How to behave properly when Wild appears

If you can see wild animals such as fallow deer or wild boars at the roadside or on the road from a distance, you should brake immediately (!) in a controlled manner. This allows you to reduce the impact speed in the event of an accident, which can be life-saving, especially with heavier animals such as wild boar or deer. A wild boar, for example, will hit your car with a weight of around three and a half tons if you only drive 60 km/h.

Further measures are horns to drive the animal off the road in good time and switching off the high beam, as this dazzles and irritates the animals.

Also important: Keep in mind that many animals travel in pairs or packs – stragglers can unexpectedly show up, so it’s always best to proceed extra slowly if you see wildlife anywhere.

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