RAA warns of June animal road risk

RAA has issued a timely reminder to motorists to stay alert when driving in rural areas, with casualty crashes involving animals peaking in June.

Between 2011 and 2015, hitting animals on South Australian roads resulted in 188 casualty crashes, with 12 per cent of these crashes, which included one fatality, occurring in June.

RAA road safety senior manager Charles Mountain said casualty crashes involving animals had resulted in 35 serious injuries and four deaths over the five-year period.

“Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of casualty crashes involving animals occur in rural areas on roads with a speed limit of 100km/h or more, so it’s crucial that country drivers remain vigilant,” Mr Mountain said.

“A crash is also more likely to involve injury if you hit a large animal, such as a kangaroo, compared to a small domestic animal you would find in metropolitan areas.”

The worst hour of the day for these types of crashes is between 6am and 7am, making up 11 per cent of all casualty crashes, and 47 per cent of casualty crashes involving animals occur at night.

RAA Insurance claims senior manager Hayley Cain said animal collisions had increased 40 per cent since 2014 to more than 1300 claims a year.

“Kangaroos account for the majority of animal collision claims at around 60 per cent, but much higher in rural areas,” Ms Cain said.

“Dogs come in second at around 15 per cent, followed by wombats, emus and cattle.

“The cost of an animal collision could be anything from $3000 to the car being written off, depending on what the driver hits and how hard they hit it.”

“Hitting an animal is an unpleasant experience, however, we advise motorists not to brake heavily or swerve to avoid striking them,” Mr Mountain said.

“Doing so could cause you to lose control of your car or hit an oncoming vehicle, increasing your chances of being involved in a more serious crash.

“If you can’t avoid driving in rural areas at dusk and dawn, when animals are more active, reduce your speed, remain alert and remember that animals may be obscured by roadside vegetation.

“Where possible, drivers should safely reduce their speed to avoid a collision with an animal.

“If you do hit and injure an animal, we encourage you to seek help or take the appropriate steps to alleviate the animal’s pain and suffering.”

If the animal has been killed, remove it from the road safely to reduce potential dangers to other motorists and contact the Traffic Management Centre on 1800 018 313, or the nearest police station, which will arrange for the animal to be collected.