Wild boar are out in force again for the mating season and drivers run the risk of hitting one of these stout little beasts during these dark nights. Such a collision is usually fatal to the animal, and often to the vehicle as well.
Insurers warn that many older policies subscribed to under the old law may not include collisions with wild animals, and that drivers should double check their policies. Remember that an on-the-spot police report is always required for an insurance claim.
My old buddy Richard Torné (editor of the Costa Almería News) was involved in a night-time collision with a young boar last year.
He said: “I was driving from the office late in the evening on the road between Mojacar and Turre and suddenly, out of nowhere, a young boar crossed my path not much more than a metre in front of me. I swerved but hit it hard. I stopped to see how the boar was but it died moments later. I was fine but the damage to the car was quite severe: the front bumper, offside headlight and foglight will all need replacing.”
I was chatting to a waitress up in Cabrera who was telling me that when she was driving down from a shift a wild boar charged her vehicle on the road. She managed to avoid it and sped off with the boar chasing her.
Drivers who hit an animal on the road are held responsible for the crash under the 2014 reform of the traffic law. Exceptions include hitting an animal that is being hunted. You need to make sure your insurance policy includes hitting wild animals (some older ones or third party only will exclude this).
Once ready to mate, males will travel long distances searching for a receptive female, becoming more aggressive, and have a tendency to rush out into the path of oncoming vehicles to charge them.
I see on the news that up north the traffic authorities are experimenting with hanging bottles of wolf urine (sourced from Alaska, of all places) along the sides of the road. This keeps the pigs away.
According to the traffic police (DGT), of the 3,714 accidents caused by animals between 2008 and 2013, 18 per cent were caused by wild boar, second only to canines and ahead of equines. The 673 accidents caused by pigs were by far the most fatal for drivers, leaving 58 people dead.
Police warn that driver reaction is important in preventing a collision from becoming something more serious. For example, 68 of the accidents involving animals were caused by drivers swerving to avoid cats and hitting another obstacle; a further 42 involved rabbits.
But the vehicle is usually the winner in any collision with smaller animals.
The association of road maintenance companies estimates that a thousand dead animals a day are removed from Spanish roads. This would indicate that only one in every 492 collisions is serious enough to be reported as a road traffic accident to the authorities.