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What to Do if You Hit an Animal While Driving in the UK

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It’s not something any of us want to think about, but – although a rare occurrence – animals do get struck by cars. If you’re unlucky enough to be behind the wheel when this happens, there are a few things you need to know.

What you need to do

Your next course of action varies depending on which animal you hit, but in any instance you should come to a safe stop and switch your hazard lights on – this is always best practice if you’re involved in any type of collision. Provided you and any passengers are safe, step out of the car and check on the animal. Just be careful: if you’re on a blind corner or a busy carriageway, standing in the road may not be an option, so don’t take any unnecessary risks.

You’ll need to call the police and inform them if you hit one of the following animals:

  • Dog
  • Horse
  • Cattle
  • Pig
  • Sheep
  • Donkey or Mule
  • Goat

Driving away from the scene without informing the police is an offence if you hit one of these animals.

If the animal is still alive, we’d recommend getting in touch with the RSPCA as soon as possible.

What about other animals?

If you strike another animal out on the road, you won’t have to report it to the police. However, if you hit what may be somebody’s pet – like a cat, for instance – check the animal to see if they have a collar on with the owner’s details.

If you have no luck, it’s worth contacting the RSCPA. They could check for a microchip and potentially contact the owner that way.

At the very least, if the animal dies in the accident, you should report this to the local council.

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