What to do if you accidentally hit an animal whilst driving ?


Unintentionally, each year, we kill and injure British wildlife, 1 million mammals are killed or wounded by cars. Any animal lover will be horrified by this statistic.

First of all, it depends what type of animal you have hit. The law differentiates between the type of animal that has been hit. It states that if you hit an animal which is covered by The Road Traffic Act 1988 – namely, dogs, goats, horses, cattle, donkeys, mules, sheep and pigs you are legally required to report it to the police.

But if you hit an animal not mentioned in the Road Traffic Act – a cat or a fox for example – you are not required by law to report it, but you might want to inform the police of the incident anyway.

What should you do if you hit an animal? You must stop immediately and check on its injury. If you can track down the owner, then you should notify them. You should remain at the scene to pass over any details needed to the owner, the police or the RSPCA. Check if the animal has a collar on with the owner’s details.

Remember, if you hit a dog or any other animal in The Road Traffic Act 1998 you are legally required to call the police. If the animal needs urgent attention the police should be able to provide you with details of the nearest Vet.

Road Traffic Accidents are a common cause of serious injury or death in cats. Cats are not mentioned in the Road Traffic Act 1998 so you do not legally have to report the accident to the police. If the cat can be moved, you should take it to the local vets to be identified if it has no owner’s details. If it cannot be identified you could mention it in your local community to find the owner, many people do this via social media posts.

It is the local council’s responsibility to remove any animals from the road. If you come across a dead animal, then report it to them.

As distressing as it is to hit an animal or come across an animal that has been hit, accidents can and do happen. It is important that you take the right action when it does.

Mackenzie Leahy

New Claims Team


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