Animal collisions in Australia are on the rise and will peak in the period between June and August if last year's insurance claims are anything to go by.
Insurance company AAMI says almost 19,000 claims for accidents with wayward wildlife were reported in 2014 and analysis shows the risk of such crashes increases by 30 per cent in winter months.
Drivers need to take extra care during the early morning and evening, according to AAMI spokesperson, Reuben Aitchison.
He urged NSW drivers to be mindful of wildlife on the roads.
"Winter is coming, and drivers are more likely to be on the road at dawn and dusk, which is primarily when animals are on the move. Colliding with a large kangaroo, wombat or wallaby is not only traumatic for both the animal and driver but often causes considerable damage to cars and can also result in serious injury and death," he added.
The situation in NSW
The state had 5,600 animal related crash claims last year. With the top three most dangerous locations for animals all located in NSW, analysis by AAMI reveals the state has the worst record in the country
Most accidents occurred in Queanbeyan and on country roads.
80 per cent of all animal related collisions last year involved kangaroos. Accidents also involved dogs, wombats, cattle and cats.
Mr Aitchison says motorists should remain attentive when on the road.
"Wildlife is unpredictable and often drivers won't get any warning before an animal appears in front of them. When driving on country roads, be aware of your environment and slow down to give yourself more time to react if you see an animal crossing or standing on the road ahead." he added.
Do you know what to do?
If you hit an animal, move it off the road only it is safe to do so - an injured animal can be aggressive so remember to be careful.
Here are some tips to help avoid a collision:
- Respect sign posted wildlife areas and lower your speed
- If you see an animal you should try and brake to stop your car, but never swerve to avoid the collision
- Road kill is a sign of wildlife in the area, remember to slow down and be extra careful
- Animals are most active at dawn, dusk or night-time
- Consider buying an animal alert device - it emits high frequency ultrasonic sounds to keep animals away.
Roadside assistance programs can help drivers get back on the road quickly and safely. In addition to this, you should consider comprehensive insurance and in NSW you must ensure your CTP greenslip and registration are up to date.