General Insurance Article - Insurer reports spike in wildlife being hit on roads

Admiral reports spike in wildlife being hit on the roads during lockdown, with deer top of the list of animals being involved. Most common types of accidents during lockdown is drivers hitting parked cars. Admiral urges drivers to remain vigilant at all times, despite less traffic on the roads.

 Lorna Connelly, Head of Claims at Admiral said: “Since lockdown began, it’s not surprising that overall the number of road accidents has fallen as the number of cars on UK roads have dropped, but they haven’t stopped completely, and we’ve seen a marked change in the types of accidents that have been more common in recent weeks.

 A fifth of all motor claims we’ve received since 23 March involve drivers hitting our customer’s parked and unattended cars – that’s an increase of 8% compared to before the lockdown. Meanwhile, claims where our customer has hit someone else’s parked car have also increased as a percentage of the claims we’ve seen, and account for 9% of claims - that’s 2% higher than before the pandemic.

 “There are several reasons why claims involving parked cars are so common at the moment; firstly there are simply more cars parked on our roads as fewer people are using them, then there may be some drivers who are out of practice behind the wheel and have lost confidence with their parking or are struggling with spatial awareness. Recent reports also suggest some drivers are taking advantage of the quieter roads, increasing their speed and exercising less caution than normal.

 “Sadly, we’ve also seen an increase in the percentage of claims where animals are hit by vehicles. Before lockdown these only accounted for 0.7% of all claims, but this is now up by 2% during lockdown. Wild animals are particularly susceptible, with deer and pheasants being the two most commonly named wildlife involved in these claims. We’ve actually had more claims where deer and pheasants have been hit during the lockdown period than the same period before.

 “There have been several reports of more wild animals venturing onto the quieter roads and these could be catching drivers by surprise. There’s a risk that incidents involving wildlife could increase further when people venture to rural areas and beauty spots as lockdown measures are relaxed.

 “If you see deer warning signs or are travelling through a forested stretch of road, be sure to check your speed and stay alert. If you see deer, dip your headlights as this may cause them to ‘freeze’ so you should always be prepared to stop. If you do have to stop, it’s important to use your hazard warning lights to alert other drivers. Don’t be tempted to approach an injured deer as it could be dangerous, instead you should notify the police.”

 “Regardless of how many cars are on the roads, it’s important that drivers remain vigilant at all times and stay alert to their surroundings while behind the wheel. If you do hit another vehicle or wildlife, it’s important to contact your insurer as soon as it’s safe to do so.

 “If you haven’t driven for a while because of the lockdown or are feeling less confident make sure you feel as prepared and safe as possible before getting back onto the roads. Practicing manoeuvres such as parking and reversing in open spaces such as car parks could go a long way to increasing your confidence before you get back on the roads again.”  

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