Winter is the peak period for road collisions with animals. It can be distressing to crash into an animal on the road or even just to see roadkill. As we start driving around NSW again, it is worth keeping an eye out for vulnerable wildlife.
NSW roads are the most dangerous in Australia for animals. For the fourth year running, Queanbeyan, just outside Canberra, is the top hotspot. The worst regional town for colliding with animals is Dubbo, followed by Goulburn and Mudgee.
These data come from an AAMI study of over 21,000 animal collision claims made between February 2019 and January 2020. It is an annual study, and the results are not so different from previous years.
Kangaroos always fare the worst. Drivers are mostly likely to collide with a kangaroo (84% of claims), followed by a wallaby (5%) and a wombat or deer (2%).
The worst day of the week for collisions is Friday, followed by the weekend. There is a 70% higher chance of wildlife collisions in Winter, particularly at dawn and dusk. Many animals are nocturnal and night times are when drivers are least likely to see them.
What to do
If you see an animal ahead on the road, always slow down and brake without swerving.
In the shock of hitting an animal, it may not be obvious what to do next. Wildlife rescue WIRES offers a few tips:
- Check its welfare when safe to do so and, if alive, contact the local wildlife rescue
- If a marsupial, check its pouch for a joey (a ribbon or X on the body means it has already been checked)
- Drag the animal’s body off the road by the hind legs or base of the tail, to protect animals who would feed on it and other drivers who could crash also.
The AAMI study cannot include drivers without insurance, who collide with animals. This means the numbers of collisions are likely to be higher.
Remember your CTP green slip does not cover damage done by an animal to your car. CTP covers only injuries and deaths of people involved in the crash. For coverage of property, you need comprehensive insurance.