Tuesday, 15 August 2023, 16:44
If we add up the total number of animals that have been the cause of road accidents in Spain, both wild and domestic, in 2022 that figure reached 35,661, an 11.5% increase on the previous year.
As for the time of day when most animals were hit by vehicles, 42% were between 12am and 2.59pm, and 58% between 3pm and 11.59pm; so it would be advisable for drivers to pay special attention to the afternoon and evening hours when driving on Spanish roads.
For example, wild animals move around in search of food, or mates. They do so along their usual paths or wildlife crossings, which sometimes can cut across roads. This paired with an increase in traffic, is a recipe for disaster.
Often drivers have no possibility of reacting when an animal jumps out onto the road, forcing them to choose between running over the animal or swerving, which can often be more dangerous.
According to figures from Spain's Directorate General of Traffic (DGT), almost 80% of these accidents occur on conventional roads and 38% of the animals that cause them are domestic species that have escaped.
In fact, by month, November (114), December (105) and January (103) account for the highest number of accidents. In terms of species, wild boar is the animal with the highest number of victims in accidents (61%), followed by roe deer (17%) and deer (8%), according to Automovilistas Europeos Asociados (AEA).
As a driver you should know that, in the event that you run over an animal on the road, and according to Allianz, you are obliged by law to stop the vehicle and provide first aid. If the accident has been fatal, you must remove the body from the road and notify the Guardia Civil, who must attend and record the incident. Failure to do so may result in a fine of up to 200 euros for leaving the body of the animal on the road, as it poses a danger to other drivers.
Who is responsible?
It is still difficult to determine whether the accident was due to the reckless behaviour of the animal, or to excessive speed and carelessness of the driver. Until 2014, the Road Safety Law stipulated that in the event of an animal being run over on the road, the responsible party was the owner of the farm to which it belonged, or the administration in charge of the road in question, in the event that the accident was caused by the poor state of the road or lack of road signage.
After the reform of the law, in force since 7 April 2017, the liability for running over game species (such as wild boar and deer), which escape from a private game reserve is entirely that of the driver of the vehicle. In this case, your car insurance will not only have to cover the repair costs but also those suffered by other vehicles on the road as a result of the collision.
Hunting grounds have stipulated hunting days, and the local administration is obliged to signpost the stretches of road that may be dangerous for drivers travelling through the area.
Compramostucoche.es points out that repairing a vehicle damaged by an animal costs an average of 1,400 euros. And the fact is that 94% of drivers have encountered an animal on the road at some time, and 6% of collisions of this type cause injuries to the occupants of the vehicle. The advice to bear in mind is to reduce speed in areas close to hunting grounds and forests, pay attention to signage and keep a safe distance.
Sometimes we are faced with the dilemma of whether to brake or accelerate when we come face-to-face with an animal on the road. According to the experts, we should hold the steering wheel tightly, go straight ahead and brake hard if the speed is less than 90 kilometres or accelerate if we are travelling at a higher speed. It is also worth noting that putting on the high-beam headlights and sounding the horn as soon as you see an animal may be a solution, bearing in mind that many species travel in packs.
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