Written and image provided by Bhavani Sundaram

The scenario of animals dying due to rash driving and careless drivers is increasing day by day be it dogs, elephants, leopards, lions etc... Each and every animal have a right to way maybe more than humans as they cannot understand the fact that a speeding car coming their way is going to injure and kill them. I as an animal lover and worker have seen many instances of dogs lying crushed and dead in the middle of the roads due to rash driving and have stopped many a times to move the body to a corner of the road so that it doesnt keep getting crushed time and time again.

The sad fact is that the drivers dont seem to care or bother that they are seeing an animal trying to cross the road, they feel that it is their birthright to drive rashly and bump into the animal and that it was the animals fault not theirs.

Being a witness to the cases of hit and run cases in the shelters its heartbreaking seeing animals being brought in with bones broken, spines broken, and sometimes in their last moments…it’s a heart wrenching scene for any animal lover and a helpless feeling …

How can we avoid hitting an animal?

First and foremost, slow down! Keeping your speed in check gives you a better chance of stopping in time if an animal darts into the road.

  • Follow speed limits. Many animals are hit simply because people drive too fast to avoid them. Taking it slow makes the roads safer for other drivers and pedestrians, too.
  • Watch for wildlife in and near the road at dawn, dusk and in the first few hours after darkness. Keep in mind that where there is one animal, there are probably others—young animals following their mother or male animals pursuing a female.
  • Be especially cautious on two-lane roads bordered by woods or fields, or where streams cross under roads. Most animal/vehicle collisions occur on these roads. Slow down to 45 mph or less.
  • Scan the road as you drive, watching the edges for wildlife about to cross. This will also make you more aware of other hazards such as bicyclists, children at play and slow-moving vehicles. 
  • Don’t throw trash out car windows. Discarded food pollutes the environment and creates a hazard by attracting wildlife to the roads. 
  • Use your high beams whenever possible.
  • Lower your dashboard lights slightly. You'll be more likely to see your headlights reflected in the eyes of animals in time to brake.

How can we make roads safer?

  • Enforce speed limits in areas with deer. The lower the speed, the fewer collisions with deer.
  • Erect fences. One of the most successful techniques for alleviating deer/vehicle collisions is to use fencing to prevent deer from crossing roads.
  • Install devices that warn deer of oncoming cars: which reflect headlights to create an optical illusion of a fence and alert deer to oncoming vehicles, have been reported to reduce deer/vehicle collisions by 60 to 100%; Deer Deter devices alert deer to oncoming vehicles by combining a strobe light effect with ultrasonic high-pitched sounds.
  • Construct green bridges or wildlife crossing underpasses to enable wildlife to cross roads without having to negotiate traffic.

How can I help an injured animal?

Sometimes collisions are unavoidable, no matter how careful we are. Here's what to do if you hit an animal or come across an injured one.

  • Do not put your own safety at risk. Unless you can move the animal from the road in absolute safety, do not attempt to do so. Use your hazard lights or emergency road flares to warn oncoming traffic of the injured animal. Never attempt to handle a large animal like a deer, or one that could give a serious bite, like a raccoon.
  • Call someone with the proper training and equipment. When you need assistance, call the non-emergency number of the local police department and describe the animal's location. Emphasize that the injured animal is a traffic hazard to help ensure that someone will come quickly. Stay in the area until help arrives.
  • Use heavy gloves to protect yourself or avoid direct handling if you try to rescue a small animal yourself. Remember that the animal doesn't know you are trying to help and may bite or scratch in self-defense. An old towel is helpful if you need to move an injured animal.
  • Gently coax or place the animal into a cardboard box and transport him/her to an animal shelter, wildlife rehabilitator or a receptive veterinarian. If there is a delay, keep the animal in a dark, warm, quiet place to minimize fear and stress.
  • If you accidentally kill an animal, try to move the animal off the road—but only if you can do so in complete safety. Otherwise, report the location of the animal's body to the local police department, and it will arrange for removal. This will prevent scavengers from being attracted onto the road and eliminate a potential traffic hazard.

 I hope the above points will help in reducing the death of innocent animals who want to cross the roads peacefully… It is our duty to reduce and lessen the accidents caused to animals due to rash driving.

I believe that animals should be respected as citizens of this earth. They should have a right to their own freedom and their own life.

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