(PRLEAP.COM) The shorter days of winter see a 40% jump in animal collisions on Australian roads compared to the summer months, according to claims data from leading national insurer, AAMI. With twilight coinciding more closely with peak hour on rural roads, and city drivers taking to the country for a winter break, animals and cars are more likely to cross paths.
"Through the winter months, daylight is shorter and we are on the roads more at the very time of day when animals, such as kangaroos, tend to be more active and invade our roadways," said Reuben Aitchison, AAMI Corporate Affairs Manager.
AAMI handled an average of 500 animal collision claims per month last summer, but nearly 700 animal collision claims per month last winter. Over the past year, Canberra/Queanbeyan and the Hunter have proven the nation’s hotspots for animal collision claims.
Colliding with an animal can result in serious damage or injury. Even if the driver is unharmed, knowing they’ve injured or killed an animal is a highly distressing experience.
"A brush with a galah might give your heart a jump, but leave you and your car otherwise unscathed. But a roo suddenly appearing in your passenger seat via the windscreen, as happened to one of our customers, can give you a hell of a fright and really inflict some serious damage," said Mr Aitchison.
"There is a reason it’s called wildlife - it’s unpredictable," he concluded. "Animals are not taught to ‘look right, look left and look right again’ before crossing the road, so slow down and be aware of the environment you’re driving in."
If you don’t know what is over the rise or around the bend, slow down and be prepared for anything
Don’t be lulled by long stretches of open road - stay alert
The most likely time for animal collisions is dusk and dawn - be extra vigilant
Keep an eye out for road kill on the shoulders. It’s an indicator of increased wildlife activity in the area.
If you hit an animal and stop to check its welfare, be mindful of traffic and remember that animals can get aggressive when injured or frightened.
Keep your local wildlife rescue service emergency number on hand in case an animal is injured.