Every year, several thousands of car owners in Latvia collide with wild animals on the roads. In the first three months of this year, cases with wild animals being caught in car accidents increased almost two times – from 2.5% to 4.3%, compared to the same period of last year, according to data from Balta insurance association.
This year, almost half of car accidents were the fault of a dear or doe. While 16% of collisions occurred with unrecognized wild beasts, which often are then can no longer be found. Sometimes hares, foxes, moose, wild boar, sometimes even raccoon dogs, beavers and badgers get caught in traffic accidents. Nevertheless, 13% of cases involved dogs, which means that people living close to highways should look after their pets especially carefully.
«Reimbursement data shows that collisions with moose are rather rare, but in terms of accidents it is the most dangerous forest animal because of their weight, impressive size and antlers. Deer and doe are no less dangerous, which cause less damage, but accidents with their involvement occur more often. It should be remembered that car owners are more likely to meet forest animals in spring and summer: animals are most anxious during reproductive and hunting seasons. During reproductive seasons animals follow their instincts and pay no attention to neither noise from cars nor lights», – explains Balta insurance association Director Ingus Savickis.
The amount of reimbursement payments made to cover car collisions with animals last year was 290 500 LVL. Last year’s largest number of collisions with animals occurred in June, with repair costs for cars reaching 11 000 LVL. The most serious damage to cars were caused by collisions with elk, the average reimbursement amount for which is 1 268 LVL, while collision with doe is twice as small – 656 LVL. Car front windshields, headlights, grilles, fenders, hood and windshields, in severe cases, the car roofs are mainly damaged in these accidents.
«Not all cases of accidents involving animals involve direct collision with them – often drivers try to avoid collision and, as a result, go off road – which sometimes causes even greater damage. Every car manufacturing process involves a so called «elk test» – when the driver tries to avoid collision with a suddenly appearing obstacle while driving at a very high speed without running down the said obstacle. Before making the decision to perform a steep maneuver it is advised to first assess the possibility and usefulness of the said maneuver», – Savickis reminds.