Animals on the road are a regular cause of road accidents in Australia, especially in rural locations where wildlife lives and feeds close to roadways. As the weather changes and winter sets in, AAMI reports that the number of animal-related accidents will increase by 15% between May and August. And that’s taking into account the reduced traffic as many people stay at home due to COVID-19.
Kangaroos are the most common animal to be caught up in a road accident and account for more than 80% of all accidents involving wildlife. If a ‘roo hits your windscreen, it can cause serious damage to your car and possibly also to you, the driver, and your passengers.
Animal collision hotspots
Despite its small size, AAMI saw the highest number of animal-related insurance claims in Canberra, while at a state level, New South Wales sees the highest number of animal collisions (over ⅓ of all animal collisions in Australia), with Victoria close behind.
When looking at the top animal collision hotspots in each state, it’s immediately apparent that most incidents occur in rural areas. Dubbo (NSW), Heathcote (VIC), Roma (QLD), Baldivis (WA), Port Augusta (SA) and Kingston (TAS) are identified as the locations in each state or territory for the highest number of collisions involving animals. However, accidents involving animals can happen anywhere and at any time.
So, while it may sound like something that’ll never happen to you — and we hope that it doesn’t — these things do happen. And regularly too — last year (2019) AAMI recorded over 21,000 animal collision events across Australia. That’s nearly 58 accidents every day.
While most of these accidents involve wildlife in rural areas, we recently heard of a lady whose car hit a cow that had wandered onto a highway just outside of a large city. You never know what’s around the corner, so always be prepared.
Drive Responsibly and Keep Local Wildlife Safe
As motorists, we all know just how important it is to stay safe on the road. However, domestic animals and local wildlife don’t have the benefit of the same road sense that we do! Helpful tips to reduce the likelihood of getting into a bingle with an animal include:
Use your peripheral vision and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Turn on your headlights at dusk, in the evening and anytime in which visibility is reduced (rain, foggy weather, etc.)
Avoid driving at dawn and dusk if possible, especially in rural areas, and keep an eye out for wildlife if you do — many animals are more active at night than in the daytime.
Pay close attention to road signs alerting motorists to the existence of animals in the area and reduce your speed accordingly.
Don’t swerve if you encounter an animal on the road — maintain your direction as you slow and brake.
If your ability to work has been affected by a motor vehicle accident, whether that accident involved an animal, another motorist or a pedestrian or cyclist, you may have a personal injury claim through your superannuation. Our expert lawyers provide free advice. Click here to get started.