SINGAPORE: In the wake of two traffic accidents in as many days involving wild boars, road safety experts urged motorists who encounter the animals on the road to brake and avoid swerving out of lane.
In the first accident on Thursday morning, two people were injured after a wild boar showed up on the Ayer Rajah Expressway.
On Friday morning (Sep 29), three people were injured in a car accident involving a wild boar at Lentor Avenue.
"If you see the animal there, you can slow down and warn the car behind," Singapore Road Safety Council chairman Bernard Tay told Channel NewsAsia.
"If the animal comes suddenly, swerving to the side might cause a fatal accident if you go to the oncoming lane and there's a car on the other side of the road."
The Automobile Association of Singapore (AA Singapore) said through a spokesman that motorists should "step hard" on the brakes and try to keep in lane when animals get in the way.
The car's anti-lock braking system will then kick in, ensuring the driver can steer clear of the obstacle without skidding.
However, swerving might cause you to hit a vehicle on your side, the spokesman cautioned. "You have to be alert, slow down your speed and apply defensive driving tactics."
On occasions when there is too little time to react, both experts said a collision is unavoidable.
"I’m not insinuating that you have to kill the animal," Mr Tay said, stressing that any evasive action would depend on the driver's reflexes. "To save the human being, you have to make a decision."
The AA Singapore spokesman added that in such cases, head-on collisions should be avoided. "If you have no choice but to hit the animal, try to hit it at an angle so you reduce the possibility of the animal going through your windscreen."
If the collision occurs on an expressway, Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) deputy chief executive Anbarasi Boopal said motorists should park or pull over somewhere for their own safety first, before calling the Land Transport Authority (LTA), as the removal or rescue of the animal "would need traffic control".
"For smaller roads, they can call ACRES if the wild animal is still alive. If dead, they can report (it) to the National Environment Agency for removal," she added.
In response to Channel NewsAsia's queries on the recent wild boar accidents, the police advised motorists to "give their full attention while travelling on roads and observe road safety at all times".
"Motorists should travel within the speed limits, stay alert to their surroundings and to keep a safe distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front," the police added.
WILDLIFE CROSSING SIGNS NEEDED
Nevertheless, experts said that authorities should put up warning signs along roads with frequent wild boar sightings.
"If they know that there are certain animals around, they should put up signs to warn motorists," Mr Tay said, citing the example of Australia's wildlife road warning signs.
While the AA Singapore spokesperson acknowledged that animal crossings in Singapore are not common, he believes action should be taken after the recent accidents.
"Some kind of sign has to be put up to alert motorists," he said. "It's good to create awareness that when you drive along a road with bushes on both sides, animals might run out."
LTA said on its One Motoring website that the animal warning sign is used to warn drivers to slow down and beware of animals.
Channel NewsAsia understands that both roads involved in the recent accidents do not have this sign.
Ms Boopal said hotspots for wildlife crossing include Mandai Road, Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE), Seletar Expressway and Upper Thomson Road.
"These areas are usually flanked by forested areas, which provide habitats (for) these animals, and they may have to cross man-made barriers such as roads to get to the other side for resources," she said.
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority said in an advisory that the "increase in the population of wild boars may result in a higher frequency of human-wild boar conflict as they wander into parks, public roads and residential areas".
While the police and ACRES said they do not keep track of the number of road accidents specifically involving wildlife, Ms Boopal wants measures put in place to reduce instances of wild animals getting hit by cars.
"Buffer zones and barriers between new developments and traffic zones are important," she said, highlighting wildlife crossing signs, speed reduction markings and wildlife corridors as other possible measures.
Ms Boopal added: "In the bigger picture, environmental impact assessment is essential to understand the impact of developments on wildlife and their movements, so mitigation measures can be put in place."