What to do if you hit an animal with your car
It's pretty devastating. Whatever you hit, pheasant, squirrel or deer, it's scary and it's really upsetting. It's also pretty likely it will happen to you at some point, and you need to be prepared.
If you see an animal dart out in front of you, your instinct will probably be to swerve. DO NOT DO THIS. You put yourself and other people in serious danger and, as horrible as it is, it's safer for you to slow as much as you can, use your horn and hold the steering wheel steady.
What to do if you hit a large animal
What to do if you hit a pet
Bigger animals - goats, horses, cows, sheep, pigs and so on - must be reported to the police on the non-emergency number 101. An animal this big lying in the road is a hazard and they're also likely to have an owner that will need to be contacted.
Badgers are a protected species and it's illegal to 'possess' one dead or alive, so don't try to remove it from the scene you hit one. If you're worried about leaving it, report it to the police on 101.
Any big animal that you hit must be reported to the local authorities so they can remove the body - you can find out who to contact on GOV.UK.
Hitting a large animal is devastating but it's also a dangerous situation for you. Although it's really upsetting, the important thing is that you're safe. If you're very shaken, pull over safely and stop until you're calmer.
If the animal is still alive, call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
The law states that you MUST stop if you hit a dog. The owner is entitled to ask for your details and it's just human courtesy to attempt to find out who owns the dog (or cat) if you hit one.
I think this comes down to imagining how you'd feel if you left your house in the morning and saw your pet lying in the road with cars driving over it.
Yes, it's a horrible situation for you if you hit a dog or cat, but it's a situation you can make less horrible for the owner - who's the one that's really going to feel this.
If the pet isn't dead
Try to move the dog or cat to the side of the road IF it's safe for you to do so. Bear in mind that injured animals can lash out in fear, so if you have a coat or blanket in the car, wrap it in that first. Look for a tag so you can contact the the owner.
If you can't trace the owner, you need to call 101 to report the incident or go to a police station within 24 hours.
At the scene, a good thing to do is call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999. They'll be able to see if the animal is chipped and arrange emergency vet care if necessary. If you can, take an injured pet to a vet - you can find your local vet here. You won't be responsible for the vet fees.
Call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 to report an injured animal.
How to avoid hitting an animal
When you see animal warning signs, slow down. They're there because that's where animals are most often seen and hit. You're most likely to spot animals at night, and you'll probably see your headlights reflecting off their eyes first.
In residential areas, one reason to keep to speed limits even if the road is totally clear is to avoid hitting pets. They're out and about even when their owners are in bed, so be aware of why the limit is in place.