Every year thousands of native wildlife are killed on Victorian roads. This is absolutely devastating for these animals that suffered or died, but also a huge concern for the safety of drivers and passengers. RACV and Wildlife Victoria urge you to please slow down while driving between dusk and dawn in areas populated by wildlife when our nocturnal animals are most active and feeding.
If you’ve accidentally hit an animal or spotted an injured animal on the road, there are things you can do to help.
Reporting an accident involving an animal
An injured animal left on the road has the potential to cause further incidents to other road users. If you’ve accidentally hit an animal, and there’s a chance that it will create a hazard for other road users, you must stop in a safe place and either remove the animal or call for help.
- Toll road: contact the toll-road operator
- Major roads: call VicRoads
- Local road: contact the local Council or VicRoads.
Helping an injured animal
If you’ve been able to move the animal to safety, try to keep it warm and calm, then contact the property owner or Wildlife Victoria. Even if the animal didn’t survive, someone may need to be sent to check the pouch for young and make the area safe.
You can even check the pouch yourself – just make sure you look after your own safety first: don’t go out onto dangerous roads, always wear gloves, and don’t ever try to forcibly remove a baby that has latched onto its Mum’s teat – you’ll need a specially trained rescuer for that. If you are unsure or would like to check details give Wildlife Victoria’s emergency response operators a call.
For more information see rule 293 of the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017.
Why are wildlife accidents common at certain times?
Macropods, like kangaroos and wallabies, are most active and will feed at dawn and dusk. The grass on the sides of our roads tends to be fresher from water run-off, making these areas favourable to wildlife but obviously dangerous for both the animals and road users. Wildlife Victoria’s Emergency Response Service receives a spike in calls during these active hours. Headlights can often ‘blind’ animals, confusing them and initiating a reactive fight or flight response. If you see a mob of kangaroos or other wildlife near the side of the road, slow down to a speed that is safe for you to break if needed, ensuring your well-being and that of our wildlife.
What can motorists do to avoid collisions with wildlife?
Motorists should be aware that they are in macropod territory when driving on some of Victoria’s (and suburban Melbourne’s) roads. By keeping aware of your surroundings and being particularly cautious during twilight hours, you should have a better chance of avoiding a collision. Reducing your speed in these areas at these times increases your chance of safely stopping if you come across wildlife on the road.