Disclaimer: This information is general in nature only. While Budget Direct has endeavoured to ensure the information we’ve relied on is accurate and current, we do not guarantee it. Budget Direct accepts no liability for this information.

Caution, wildlife in this area.

Many Australian’s will be familiar with the wording of this sign when driving — especially on our rural roads — however, despite our best efforts, collisions with animals do occur.

As reported by Finder, about 5% of all total collisions a year involve an animal [1], most commonly kangaroos and dogs.

Based off 5,166 animal collision claims, between 2016 and 2020, Budget Direct customers experienced the most frequent of those animal-related incidents in rural New South Wales.

There are steps you can take to reduce the odds of having an animal-related accident, but should the unfortunate happen, here’s what you need to do.

Ensure your safety and check on the animal

Firstly, when driving you should always consider whether animals may also be nearby, so be alert when driving and look out for road signs.

In the unfortunate event of a collision, if it’s safe to do so, pull over to the side of the road, turn off your car’s ignition and activate your hazard lights as quickly as possible.

If you’re unhurt and not in immediate danger, scan the road ahead for any injured animals. If an animal with a pouch is injured, look for young and further check the area.

If no animals can be seen, check your vehicle. Unfortunately, some animals can get caught in the grill and engine bays, so conduct a thorough check of your vehicle.

If you find an animal that’s deceased as a result of the accident, sadly there’s nothing you can do, so leave it to the local council or police to clear the animal from the road.

If you come across an injured animal

If the animal you collided with survived the accident, get in touch with RSPCA’s emergency hotline — 1300 ANIMAL — for advice, and if it’s safe to do so, take the animal to the nearest vet. If possible, keep the animal warm and safe by using items such as towels and jumpers.

It’s recommended that before undertaking any road-trip or long-distance drive, that you have a prepared rescue kit, ready for such incidents.

Your rescue kit can include:

  • Towels
  • Pillowcases
  • Boxes
  • Torch
  • Disposable gloves
  • First aid kit
  • Scissors or pliers
  • Pen and paper

Steps to avoid animal collisions

As mentioned above, there are steps you can undertake, before and while driving, that may help prevent collisions with animals on the road.

Know where wildlife is located

If you’re driving through a new area you’ll want to be aware of where wildlife may be located. Before driving, research what wildlife may be present in the area as this may help you gauge when you should be most alert while driving.

Please keep in mind that wildlife is most active at dusk and dawn so it’s important that you drive very carefully during these times. Some animals may also be more active during specific seasons and especially when it’s breeding season, usually spring and summer for most mammals.

Ensure your horn and headlights work

Making sure your horn and headlights work will ultimately help to keep wildlife safe if they are on the road. Headlights can help you see an animal ahead of your car while activating your horn can help to deter an animal away from the road.

Minimise distractions

Distracted driving can not only be a detriment to people but also wildlife on the road too. Drivers who look at a mobile phone and away from the road for even two seconds can “drive blind” for 22 metres in a car moving at 40km/h. This means that in an area inhabited by lots of wildlife distracted drivers may be more at risk of an accident.

Stay alert

Being alert at all times while driving will help to reduce the risk of hitting wildlife. If you are fatigued while driving it may be less likely that you’ll notice an animal on the road and react in a timely manner. This is why it’s important for you to stay alert and practice road safety around other humans and animals while on the road.

Does car insurance cover an accident involving an animal?

Budget Direct’s Comprehensive Car Insurance covers loss or damage to your car in an unforeseen or unexpected event, like a car accident. This does include damage caused by road hazards (like stray animals) that were outside your control.

Sources

[1] Richard Laycock, 2021, Finder