An animal’s been injured on the road
Sadly most motorists at some point will come across a road traffic casualty. What should you do?
Your own safety is the most important consideration. Do not stop or get out of your car unless it is truly safe to do so.
If it is safe to do so, pull over and stop the car. It can be very shocking to hit an animal or be involved in an accident. Take a few minutes to ensure you are calm. If you or other people have been injured in any way then concentrate on helping them first.
If possible, park behind the casualty, shielding them from oncoming traffic and ensure your hazard lights are on. If you have a warning triangle, place it at least 45 metres behind your vehicle (but don’t use warning triangles on motorways).
Be a WildLifesaver: don’t put yourself or other people in danger
Is the animal alive? Observe quietly from a distance to see if the animal is moving or breathing. Approaching the animal too quickly will cause it unnecessary stress and it may try to run away – possibly into the path of another vehicle.
Be very careful with badgers, foxes or deer or as they can bite or kick if trying to protect themselves. Don’t touch these animals or get too close without phoning for advice first.
Be a WildLifesaver: call for advice before touching an animal injured on the road
Record the exact location of the casualty. So often we have incomplete information about where an injured animal has been found. If the animal recovers it will need to be released back to that location (this is especially important for adult species returning to their territories). Use your phone, GPS and local landmarks.
Be a WildLifesaver: record exactly where the road casualty was found
Ring for help. Call Secret World (01278 783 250) 8am to 8pm, 365 days of the year, at other times please call your nearest veterinary surgeon. If the animal is blocking the road you may also need to call the police for assistance to redirect traffic.
Be a WildLifesaver: call for help if you’re dealing with an animal injured on the road
Stay with the casualty until help arrives, and be as visible as possible. If you are unable to stay, leave a marker on the side of the road – something that may look out of place like an item of clothing or a carrier bag tied to a tree, fence or hedge.
If you have contacted someone to respond and the situation changes, please let them know. For example if the animal recovers and runs away, or is treated by a passing vet, let the person know they are no longer needed!
Be a WildLifesaver: keep rescuers informed if the situation changes
Don’t put yourself or others in harm’s way
Don’t under any circumstances pick up a road traffic casualty and put it in your car or boot, even if the animal appears to be unconscious
Remember: wildlife can carry diseases that are transferable to humans. Avoid direct contact by using a coat, blanket or towel, or wear gloves if you have them. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling animals.