A roadside mishap can occur with anybody, and it is not always the driver’s fault. Hitting or running over an animal is a common mistake that usually occurs involuntarily, mostly because our roads are encroaching on their habitats, or pets sometimes get out of control in the urban areas.
Nevertheless, it is a traumatic experience and can potentially be hazardous for the driver and other vehicles as well. What should you do in case you accidentally hit an animal on the road? And how can you cope emotionally after such an incident? Let’s go through some definitive coping methods and responses to recover from such incidents.
What to Do if You Accidentally Run Over an Animal?
Keep Calm and Get to Safety
The first thing that you should be doing is to keep your senses intact and don’t panic. It can lead you to make poor decisions, which can worsen the situation further. If you’ve accidentally hit an animal, slow down immediately and park at a safe spot. This is important because you just went through a traumatic situation, and driving in this condition can be fatal.
Moreover, there could be serious damage to the car and it’s not safe to drive anymore. So better park at the roadside and calm yourself down.
Also read: Is it Safe to Drive in a Thunderstorm (Explained)
Call Emergency Services
Irrespective of the situation on the scene, quickly call for help and alert the emergency services. It is a matter of road safety now and the authorities must take control of it.
Alert PETA or animal services as well, to look out for the injured animal and provide immediate assistance. The animal could still be alive and might survive if it gets the required aid in time, so the services must be alerted and help be called in such an emergency.
Alert the Traffic and Check on the Animal
If it all happened hastily, there’s a chance that the animal might not be injured fatally and you could still get some help. If you find it lying injured on the road, immediately alert the traffic on the road by putting a traffic cone or a bright-colored cloth on a stone or stick.
If it’s lying in the middle of the road, carefully and calmly move it away from the traffic to a safe spot. Using any first-aid that you could arrange, try to stop the bleeding wounds and stay with the animal as long as it takes. Wait till the help arrives and take control of the situation, and it is also advisable not to drive after the incident and call someone to pick you up.
How to Cope Emotionally with Running Over an Animal?
If you have been through such an event lately, it could take a serious toll on your emotional health and push you into guilt. Monetary and physical damages get recovered in no time, but it’s the mental damage that takes time, so here’s what you should do to recover emotionally from running over an animal;
Accept the Remorse
You should know that what has happened cannot be undone. Whether it was your fault or an accident, the life that was lost is not coming back. If you’re feeling guilt or remorse, you should embrace it and accept what happened.
This is the only way you could move forward and get rid of the mental agony that you’ve been going through. A guilty feeling is actually an indicator that the person is in repentance and accepts their mistake, so be courageous and try to move on with your life.
You must be very considerate about your emotions in order to recover from a death-related incident. In order to eventually let it go, you must remain in the moment and experience all of your feelings. You cannot fully forgive yourself and move on with your life until you admit what you have done, and be ok to move on.
Take Some Time to Heal and Recover
Life’s greatest healer is time. Although you have probably heard that saying before, it is really true. You must give yourself plenty of time to get over your remorse for driving over an animal and go on with your life.
I assure you that things will get simpler as time goes on. Though it might start to lessen, you can still experience some shame and grief as a result of the incident. Everybody recovers at a different rate. While some people may feel completely normal again in a few days, others might not feel fine for weeks or even months, and that is totally normal.
Remember that you didn’t do it intentionally and you’re not a bad person. Try to spend more time with your friends and family, and hopefully, you’d feel much better in a matter of days.
Also read: Is it Safe to Drive at 3 am? How to Drive at Night?
Participate in Social Services
If you’re feeling guilty about running over an animal and cannot recover from the remorse of that incident, it is ideal that you participate in some social services. It could either be helping the homeless, visiting orphanages or old homes, or spending time with people there.
Giving back to the community and helping others in different ways is something that can give you a sense of moral accomplishment, and help you get rid of the guilt that’s sinking your heart for so many days. By helping people, you’d be giving back to society and making up for the mistake that happened unintentionally.
There are various volunteer services that you can opt for and participate in serving the community. It is not necessary to stop once you start feeling better, consider it as a first step towards something greater that you want to achieve, mentally and morally.
Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
Spend your energies making the world a better place for the animals. Giving back to a worthy cause, such as working at your neighborhood animal shelter, is a wonderful way to recover and get rid of all that guilt. Give back to the animal communities by assisting at a shelter if you inadvertently ran over an animal while driving back home from work, and are having a tough time dealing with it.
You’ll love spending time with the animals and realizing you’re actively assisting them in leading better, happier lives in addition to doing good. Volunteer at a cat shelter if you hit a cat or if it was a dog? Consider doing something for the dog shelter in your vicinity. A wildlife shelter may provide prospects if you accidentally ran over a wild animal.
The best kind of gratification comes from working with the actual animal that was involved in the incident. If you need assistance or don’t feel brave enough to take on this endeavor alone, ask a friend or loved one to accompany you. Make it a priority in your life if you can so that you can help others and improve the world around you. You’ll be affecting countless creatures’ lives, as well as your own in a very positive way.
Seek Professional Help or Therapy
It might sound a skep taken too far, but if you’re having trouble dealing with the remorse of running over an animal and it’s becoming a nightmare, it’s absolutely fine to seek professional assistance.
Being able to freely express yourself, let your feelings and emotions flow, and ultimately recover is the goal of therapy. Talk to a therapist if you don’t have anyone else you can confide in to help you process your grief. They are there to listen and support you as you go about living your best life.
Make the most of this opportunity, you may think you don’t deserve it, but you do. And you should, in fact, most definitely go for it if you want to have a better happier life and it might be the best way to get it.
There are specialists who deal with the remorse of losing a loved one or a pet, these types of people are the best to seek help from. It’s crucial to talk to a professional therapist so you can express your feelings and begin the healing process if you don’t feel better in the days or weeks that follow the incident of running over an animal.