By Jeremy Rochow
Last updated on: September 18, 2018 at 8:24 am
Collisions between cars and animals almost doubled in 2017/18, prompting calls for motorists to take precautions and remain vigilant, particularly on regional roads.
Animal collisions usually account for 4% of car claims to RAA’s insurance team; however last year that figure doubled.
SA motorists lodged more than 1700 animal collision claims in 2017/18, compared to about 900 claims the previous financial year. About 80% of those collisions occurred on regional roads.
The state government estimates that the red kangaroo population and western grey numbers were up 43% and 35% respectively in 2017/18, with RAA Insurance Claims Manager Hayley Cain saying the surge was contributing to the jump in collisions.
“Kangaroos are involved in most of the animal collision claims, at about 60%, but that figure is much higher in rural areas,” Ms Cain said.
“Dogs come in 2nd at almost 15%, followed by emus and cattle. We also had an increase in collisions involving goats last financial year.”
The Stuart Hwy, Princes Hwy, Victor Harbor Rd, Sturt Hwy and South Eastern Freeway were all hotspots for crashes involving animals.
Depending on what the driver hits and the speed involved, the cost of colliding with an animal can range from a couple thousand dollars to the vehicle being written off.
What should I do if I encounter an animal?
Ms Cain advised motorists not to brake heavily or swerve to avoid hitting an animal.
“If you do, you could lose control of your car or hit an oncoming vehicle, which could increase the possibility of being involved in a more serious crash,” Ms Cain said.
“Where possible, drivers should safely reduce their speed to avoid a collision, remain alert and remember that animals can be obscured by roadside vegetation.
“Drivers should also try to avoid driving at dusk and dawn in rural areas, as this is when animals are more active.”
What if I hit an animal?
If you do hit and injure an animal, you should seek help or take the appropriate steps to alleviate the animal’s pain and suffering.
Don’t approached the injured animal as it could lash out and once you’re at a safe place away from the road, call Fauna Rescue Hotline on 8289 0896.
The western grey population increased by this much in 2017/18
If the animal has been killed, remove it from the road safely to reduce potential dangers to other motorists.
After the animal has been removed, contact the Traffic Management Centre on 18000 018 313, or the nearest police station, which will arrange to have the animal collected.