Animals crossing the road: What drivers have to do

I read with worry about the wild boars that caused two separate accidents on the Ayer Rajah Expressway and in Lentor Avenue (Second accident caused by wild boar in 2 days - 3 taken to hospital after Lentor Avenue crash; ST Online, Sept 29), resulting in injuries to people and the deaths of the animals.

Advisories have been issued by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) on how to react when one sees an animal like a wild boar.

However, not enough information has been disseminated on how to react when a driver encounters an animal which is crossing the road.

There are a few points to bear in mind to prevent or mitigate such road accidents.

Building fences along the edge of nature reserves or forests which form the animals' natural habitat to separate the protected zone from the expressway would be the most effective way to prevent animals from crossing.

It is good that there are plans to put up warning signs of animals crossing at intervals along the expressway to alert drivers to slow down (AVA to place signs alerting motorists about animals; Sept 30).

The speed limit on parts of the expressways with these signs should then be much lower than those without.

However, the most common question that needs to be tackled is: To swerve or not to swerve when an animal suddenly sprints across the road?

There has been advice for people not to swerve when the animal is relatively smaller in size, like that of a cat or dog.

The sudden swerving of vehicles on a busy expressway is extremely dangerous; the better way is to slow down gradually.

People taking driving lessons should also be taught in more depth on the matter, including how to dispose of animal carcasses properly.

Singapore should actively learn from the extensive experiences on roadkill from countries like the United States or Europe, where deer crossings are common.

To reduce the risk of such accidents, drivers should keep to the speed limit and be alert to road conditions at all times - this could provide sufficient reaction time to avoid the animals.

Drivers could also consider installing bull bars to minimise damage to the front and the rear of their vehicles, a precaution taken by drivers in other countries where animal crossings are common.

Lee Kay Yan (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2017, with the headline 'Animals crossing the road: What drivers have to do'. Print Edition | Subscribe