RACV advises be alert for wildlife on rural roads this summer

RACV warns motorists to be alert for native wildlife when driving, particularly at dawn and dusk, this holiday season.

Researchers from the University of NSW suggest that animal collisions play a greater role in accidents than is currently understood. "Vehicle accidents related to the presence of an animal on a road are significantly under-reported. Often, drivers swerve to miss animals only to hit roadside obstacles, such as trees and poles or oncoming vehicles.”

The Transport Accident Commission reports that while the state’s overall road death toll is down 14.2 per cent from last year, the number of deaths on rural Victorian roads has not followed the downward trend, and instead remains steady.

Victorians are four times more likely to be killed on country roads as the speeds are higher than on metropolitan roads. Almost one quarter of serious injuries on the state’s roads occur on rural roads, mainly due to drivers running off the road or hitting other vehicles head on.

“If you see wildlife on the road and a collision is unavoidable, please do not try to steer to the left or the right,” advises Mark Geraghty, General Manager Motor Insurance. “When driving on all roads, we encourage drivers to be alert and reduce speed, drive in accordance with conditions and scan the roadside for wildlife. A 10 per cent reduction in speed leads to a 20 per cent reduction in collisions.”

In 2016, Wildlife Victoria received more than 6,000 reports of seriously injured animals due to vehicle collisions. Female eastern grey kangaroos were most commonly hit, with 70 per cent found with young still in their pouch. Wildlife Victoria encourages drivers to contact their rescue team after all animal collisions, even if it seems minor.

RACV’s top tips for driving on rural roads this holiday season:

  • Be alert and reduce speed
  • Drive in accordance with conditions
  • Scan the roadside for wildlife

Wildlife Victoria is RACV’s Environment and Sustainability Community partner. If you have a collision with wildlife on the road, call the Wildlife Victoria emergency response service on 03 8400 7300. For comment, contact RACV Corporate Communications at media@racv.com.au or (03) 9790 2572.

Additional data - RACV Insurance Analysis

The figures below identify the most common animals involved in ‘Animal Collision’ claims using RACV Insurance Car and Motorcycle Comprehensive and third party claims data. The analysis uses RACV collision claims data for financial years (FY) FY 13-14, FY 14-15 and FY 15-16.

  • Animal collisions make up five per cent of all collision claims on average; however, in FY 15-16, this went up to six per cent.
  • In the last 3 years, there were 14,816 animal collisions in VIC. In FY 15-16 alone, there were 5,341 animal collisions.
  • In FY 15-16, 82 per cent of all animal collisions in VIC involved Kangaroos. Wombats and dogs came next at 4.5 per cent and 4.1 per cent. 
  • On average, RACV spend $4,476 per animal collision.
  • Animal collisions are highest near dawn and after dusk. In the last three years, most occurred at 6am; in the evenings, they were highest at 6pm and 9pm at nine per cent, reducing gradually to five per cent by 11pm.
  • 80 per cent of animal collisions occurred on non-highways rather than highways.
Written by RACV Corporate Communications (03) 9790 2572
December 29, 2017