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Victorian drivers warned to be careful of wayward wildlife as collisions spike in winter

By  AAMI

Bendigo is WA's roadkill capital
Drivers most likely to collide with a roo, wallaby, wombat or dog

Collisions between vehicles and animals on Australian roads jump by 68% in winter compared to the summer months, according to claims data from leading insurer, AAMI.

Examination of almost 20,000 claims reported in 2015 shows that animal collisions peak in the period between June and August, and surge in July, posing a serious danger to both drivers and animals.

“Colliding with an animal is a frightening and traumatic experience, especially if the animal is injured or killed, and can result in series damage or injury,” said AAMI spokesperson, Michael Mills.

“Shorter days during winter mean we’re on the roads more at times when animals are on the move, and combined with poor weather conditions and reduced visibility, make the chances of hitting an animal more likely.”

Analysis of 5,640 animal related accident claims in Victoria during 2015 show the top hotspots across the state are: 

VIC

National

1. Bendigo (3551)

1. Queanbeyan (2620 NSW/ACT Region)

2. Heathcote (3523)

2. Bendigo (3551 VIC)

3. Gisborne (3437)

3. Dingo (4702 QLD)

4. Whittlesea (3757)

4. Singleton (2330 NSW)

5. Woodend (3442)

5. Goulburn (2580 NSW)


According to AAMI’s claims data, nine in ten Australian drivers who have collided with an animal hit a kangaroo. Other animals at risk that were involved in collisions included wallabies, wombats and dogs.*

“Victorian drivers should avoid driving at night, if possible, as it’s hard to see animals. They also need to be attentive when behind the wheel at dawn and dusk as this is generally when wildlife, particularly kangaroos, are most active,” warned Mr Mills.

“It’s vital that drivers keep a lookout for wildlife on the road, particularly on country roads and rural and regional areas near national parks and forests.

“Wildlife is unpredictable and can appear out of nowhere so it’s important to slow down and be aware of your environment, particularly inside sign posted wildlife areas.”

AAMI’s claims data shows that the majority of animal related crashes happen towards the end of the week with Friday being the worst day for animal collisions.

AAMI’s tips for sharing the road with animals:

  • If you notice road kill, slow down and pay extra attention. It’s an indicator of wildlife in the area.
  • If you spot a kangaroo crossing the road, it's a sign that more roos will be following as they move in groups.
  • If you see an animal on the road, slow down and brake, but avoid swerving so as not to endanger yourself and other drivers on the road. It’s far less dangerous to keep driving and damage your vehicle than swerve to avoid it and collide with another vehicle or tree.
  • If you’re involved in a collision with an animal, stop to check its welfare, but only if it is safe to do so. If the animal is alive and injured call your local wildlife rescue service. If it’s a dead kangaroo or wallaby, check if it is a female and if there’s a joey(s) in her pouch or around her.
  • Drive slowly and be extra vigilant when driving at dawn or dusk as this is when animals are most active.
  • Use your peripheral vision and be aware of your surroundings, especially when travelling through forest or grassland areas where animals are not clearly visible. 

Note to Editors

*Kangaroo collisions (88%), wallabies (6%), wombats (3%), dogs (2%), other (1%)

Infographics, video animation of animal collision case studies/ tips, and AAMI spokesperson are available upon request.