Television wants you to believe that roadkill is something to be celebrated. There is always a show somewhere teaching you how to cook the animals that you accidentally kill while driving on the highway. However, the reality of the matter is that roadkill can be dangerous. When your vehicle collides head-on with a deer, as an example, the accident could very well kill you. So, what do you do to prevent roadkill damage? Here is my story;
Driving for the holidays
A few weeks ago, I was driving in my Corolla along the highway on my way to Buhera for the holidays. After Chivu, there is a stretch that’s straight for about 4 kilometers. Now, I am a normally grandfatherly driver, but this stretch really tempts me. At the place where the farms give way to communal lands, I had an experience that could very well have been my last. I was blissfully chatting to my wife when, out of the blue, a mangy dog sprang from the side of the road on a collision course with my car. The dog must have been following it’s owner, who had already crossed onto the other side of the road.
Now, I usually expect this behavior from goats and human children. Dog’s are usually more careful. Anyway, it was one of those situations where you have to make a split second decision. I was, at the time, driving at a speed of about 100km per hour.
What to do when you are about to hit an animal on the road
The thing to do when you encounter a situation similar to mine is not to panic. When you are about to hit an animal on the road, take the following steps;
- Don’t panic. Panic will kill you.
- Don’t veer suddenly from the road. If you do this, you risk losing control of the vehicle.
- Don’t suddenly hit the brakes. Again, if you do this, you risk losing control of your vehicle.
- A few meters afterwards, calmly stop and check on the damage to your car.
In other words, I am saying if there is a dog or a deer on the road, proceed as if there is nothing. Trying to avoid it will only cause more damage. In my case, I judged that the dog was going to be squashed by my right front tire. That is preferable. If you hit the animal using the front of your car, there is a risk that your airbags will deploy or your radiator will be damaged. Now, that’s some major damage.
I would, however, advise you to brake and avoid the collision if it’s a cow on the road. Trying to win a head-on collision with a cow would be liable to get you killed. In that case, you are better off driving onto the side of the road.
Avoid the owner
Now, the law states that owners are supposed to be responsible for their animals. However, the reality is that if you hit somebody’s dog out in the wilderness, you are liable to being bludgeoned. So, instead of stopping and trying to reason with the angry owner of the dog that was now mincemeat under my car, I simply drove on for a kilometer. I know, I was probably breaking the law, but what can I say? I love my teeth too much.
I had some damage to my car. Fortunately, it was nothing that could not be sorted out with a few pieces of wire. The air conditioner condenser had been smashed and pushed onto the radiator. The good news was that the radiator had not been damaged. It later turned out that the condenser itself was also undamaged, though I detect a slight diminishing in it’s ability to keep the car cools.