Animals on the road

What To Do If You Hit An Animal On The Road

Colliding with an animal on the road is an extremely distressing situation for any driver. Not only can a collision frighten or even seriously harm the creature involved, but such collisions can also cause significant harm to the driver and their vehicle, sometimes leading to your car needing to be scrapped.

But is there a time of year where you’re more likely to come into contact with wildlife on the roads? To find out, we worked with the RSPCA, and have used data which reveals the number of calls to the charity concerning animals involved in road traffic collisions (RTCs). The RSPCA has also shared advice on what to do if you should find yourself in the unfortunate situation of colliding with an animal while out on the roads.  

The months you’re most likely to collide with an animal on the roads

According to the call data, there were 6,608 reported incidents overall and January was the month with the highest number of calls to the RSPCA, with 811 taking place in 2020. February and September followed as the second and third months with the most incidents involving animals, with 649 and 585 incidents respectively.

December was revealed as the month with the least incidents (only 385), with November ranking in 10th position with only 463 incidents – though you should always take care out on the roads, regardless of the month!

RankMonthNumber of incidents relating to RTCs
Total 6,608
Adam Grogan, Head of the Wildlife department at the RSPCA, comments:

“Our call data helps to highlight that thousands of animals are harmed on British roads each year but in reality, this is only a fraction of the animal-related accidents that take place, as we of course don’t receive a call for every single occurrence. Sadly, you can expect the number of animals actually getting harmed on roads in the UK to actually be much higher.

Our goal should always be to live in harmony with the natural world, and for any driver, unknowingly hitting an animal can be an extremely distressing time.

Beyond this, if anyone finds a healthy or injured animal on any road, it is their responsibility to notify the correct authority as soon as possible. This differs depending on the type of animal, so be sure to take note of the following before driving anywhere:

  • If you find a healthy animal on the motorway or a major ‘A’ road in England or Wales: Call the National Highways (for England) on 0300 123 5000 or Traffic Wales on 0845 602 6020
  • If you find a healthy animal on a minor road in England or Wales, you should report this to the police
  • If you find or have injured an animal on the road, but it is still mobile and in traffic, please contact the police
  • If you find or have badly injured an animal while out on the road, please call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999
  • If you find a dead animal on the motorway or major ‘A’ and there are no suspicious circumstances, again contact the Highways Agency (for England) or Traffic Wales on the numbers above
  • If you find a dead animal on minor or side roads, the local council are obliged to deal with this. However not in private or residential property
  • If you find a stray dog while out on the road, please contact the Local Authority Dog Wardens
  • If you’ve found a swan while out on the road, please contact your local police as the situation can become dangerous for both the animal and road users.
  • However, if you have specifically seen a swan crash-land on the road and it is injured, please call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999”

The animals you’re most likely to encounter on the roads

The call data from the RSPCA also revealed the types of animals which are most commonly involved in road traffic collisions. Wild mammals – including creatures such as badgers, deer, foxes, hedgehogs and rabbits – were sadly the animals which were involved in the most collisions.

Specifically, it was deer falling victim to the most collisions, with there being 1,519 incidents related to deer alone. Foxes were the second most common animals to be harmed by our cars (947 reports) followed by badgers (240 reports).

Animal typeNumber of incidents
Wild Mammal3,349
Wild Bird576
Marine Bird331
Water Bird291
Farm Animal51
Captive Bird15
Captive Mammal11
Wild Mammal (Other)6
Exotic Animal5
Dan Gick, Managing Director here at Scrap Car Comparison adds:  

“A collision on the road is an extremely stressful situation for any driver, particularly when creatures get harmed in the process. If you’ve found yourself in a road traffic accident involving an animal, it’s vital that you notify the correct authorities as soon as possible, so that the animal can be cared for appropriately.

It’s important to remember that animals are extremely unpredictable, so you should always take care if you spot one by the side of a road. Ensuring that you’re taking note of any road warning signs and driving well within the speed limit will also help prevent accidents. On quiet, rural roads where animals may be likely to residing around, this advice is particularly resonant, and using the full beams on your car headlights may also help you spot and avoid potential collisions.”

If your car has been badly damaged in an accident, you may need to consider scrapping it. Find out how much you could get for scrapping your car here.


Data which reveals the frequency of accidents involving animals relates to all reported accidents to the RSPCA involving animals in the year 2020.

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