Animal car collisions spiked in the first month of autumn according to RAA Insurance claims data, prompting a warning to be vigilant on the roads as days get shorter.
In March 2023, a worrying 48 per cent more ‘hit animal’ car claims were recorded when compared with February.
Autumn is typically the worst season for animal collisions, with ‘hit animal’ claims surging by an average of 22 per cent when compared with summer months, RAA Insurance data since 2020 shows.
Of the thousands of claims assessed by RAA Insurance, 87 per cent of animals hit in South Australia are kangaroos, while dogs and cats account for 7.5 per cent, emus 1.8 per cent and wombats/koalas for 1.6 per cent.
RAA Insurance spokesperson Kimberley Bolton said hitting an animal could be traumatic and costly for all involved.
“Hitting an animal on the road can be a traumatic experience and cause serious damage to your vehicle,” Ms Bolton said.
“Drivers should be aware that there is an increase in animal collision claims in the autumn months, which can extend into winter as well, so be alert and remember that animals can jump out onto the road with little to no warning.
“Animals can also be more active during dawn and dusk hours, so be extra cautious when driving at those times, especially on regional roads.
“Depending on the animal and speed involved, the damage to your vehicle could range from a few thousand dollars to the car being a complete write-off.”
Liane Lawrence from Kangaroo Rescue South Australia at Uleybury said the organisation attends multiple rescues per week.
“We get a lot of calls out to high-speed roads like Main North Road to rescue kangaroos.
“At this time of year roadside vegetation is getting greener, bringing more animals towards the roads in search of food.”
“We recently rehabilitated two young joeys who are now in our care, one of whom, Syd, had a broken tail after being hit near Coober Pedy.”
Ms Bolton also warned drivers against swerving if an animal appeared on the road in front of them.
“While colliding with an animal is a regrettable and unnerving experience, we advise motorists not to brake too heavily or swerve as this could result in a more serious crash.
“Where possible, drivers should safely reduce their speed to avoid a collision with an animal.”
For more on RAA Insurance visit https://www.raa.com.au/insurance.