Autumn is the worst season for collisions between animals and vehicles, RAA Insurance claims data shows.
Animal crashes surge almost 30 per cent in autumn compared to summer, seasonal claims data compiled since 2018 has also revealed.
The insurance crash data has prompted RAA to warn motorists to remain vigilant, as thousands of holidaymakers take to regional roads this Adelaide Cup long weekend.
Of the thousands of animal collision claims since the summer of 2018/19, kangaroos accounted for 71 per cent, RAA Insurance data shows.
RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said the combination of the Adelaide Cup, Easter and school holidays could contribute to a greater number of animals being struck in autumn.
“There is also the fact daylight hours become shorter as well and more motorists may be on the road around dusk when animals are more active,’’ he said.
Animals can pose a serious risk to people’s safety – which is why we urge drivers to be cautious.
“And the financial cost of colliding with an animal could range from a few thousand dollars to the car being a write-off, depending on the animal and the speed involved.’’
Mr Mountain warned the Stuart Highway, Princes Highway, Sturt Highway, Victor Harbor Road, South Eastern Freeway and Main South Road were hotspots for animal collisions.
“While colliding with an animal is a regrettable and unnerving experience, we advise motorists not to brake heavily or swerve as this could result in a more serious crash,” he said.
Where possible, drivers should safely reduce their speed to avoid a collision with an animal, remain alert and remember that animals can be obscured by roadside vegetation.
He also warned motorists who travel long distances that driver fatigue can be fatal.
“It’s important to start your journey fresh and plan regular rest stops to refresh and if possible change drivers,’’ Mr Mountain said.
“Driver distraction is also a major safety hazard with potentially fatal consequences. These distractions can include mobile phones, car stereos, passengers – especially young children – GPS units or even admiring the scenery.’’
Mr Mountain urged motorists to ensure their vehicles were roadworthy, especially before driving holidays, including inspecting tyres, lights, windscreen wipers and spare tyres.
“If you are towing, make sure everything is securely attached to the vehicle before starting especially including the power socket and safety chains,’’ he said.
“Make certain that your towing vehicle and your caravan or trailer is not overloaded either, as this adversely affects safety. Its good practice to also check these each time you stop for a break as well.’’
RAA Insurance total “hit animal’’ seasonal claims for the past three years since summer 2018/19
Full claims for the 2020/21 summer have yet to be determined.