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Drivers urged to slow down as number of ‘hit wild animal’ claims rises

Drivers are being warned to take care on country roads, in particular those with animal warning signs, as new research indicates an increase in the number of “hit wild animal” claims.

The new small mammal warning sign is being used in areas of high risk to help improve road safety and cut down the number of incidents involving animals

The figures published by AA Insurance show such claims have risen by 15% over a three-year period, with an average damage claim value of £2,300. However, hitting larger animals like deer has resulted in write-offs due to the levels of damage caused.

Meanwhile new research by AA Insurance has found three-fifths of drivers have taken evasive action to avoid collisions with wild animals.

The survey of more than 17,500 people found that most had to slam on the brakes (41%), one in 25 had to swerve (4%) and more than one in 10 had to brake and swerve to avoid hitting an animal (12%).

Unfortunately, more than one in 20 (6%) could not avoid hitting a wild animal, with Northern Ireland the most likely place for an animal to appear out of nowhere (7%), followed by Scotland, Yorkshire & Humberside, East Midlands, Eastern England and the South West (all 6%).

Badgers (51%), followed by foxes (48%) and pheasants (38%) were the most commonly seen forms of road kill while a third (33%) of people had seen hedgehogs.

Earlier this summer, the Department for Transport unveiled a new road sign advising drivers to look out for smaller animals, which often feature high on roadkill statistics.

Janet Connor, managing director for AA Insurance services, said: “Only 40% of drivers slow down and drive more vigilantly when they see a warning sign. Signs can be an important indication of a potential danger, and drivers should remember that hitting an animal could be a dangerous and costly experience.

“While most drivers will be on the lookout for larger animals like deer and badgers, smaller animals like rabbits, hedgehogs and squirrels can cause damage too, as well as adversely affect their population.

“We hope that the new small mammal warning sign revealed by the Department for Transport means that drivers will slow down and remember to look out for all creatures great and small.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news.