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Motorists warned to watch out for animals this month

Wednesday, 14th Jun 2017

RAA has issued a timely reminder to motorists to stay alert when driving in rural areas, with casualty crashes involving animals peaking in June.

Between 2011 and 2015, 188 casualty crashes resulted from hitting animals on South Australian roads. Twelve per cent of these crashes, including one fatality, occurred in June.

RAA Senior Manager Road Safety Charles Mountain said casualty crashes involving animals had resulted in 35 serious injuries and four deaths over the five year period.

“Almost two-thirds (62%) of casualty crashes involving animals occur in rural areas on roads with a speed limit of 100km/h or more, so it’s crucial that country drivers remain vigilant,” said Mr Mountain.

“A crash is also more likely to involve injury if you hit a large animal, such as a kangaroo, compared to a small domestic animal you would find in metropolitan areas.”

The worst hour of the day for these types of crashes is between 6am and 7am, making up 11 per cent of all casualty crashes, and 47 per cent of casualty crashes involving animals occur at night.

RAA Insurance Senior Manager Claims Hayley Cain said animal collisions had increased 40 per cent since 2014 to more than 1,300 claims a year.

“Kangaroos account for the majority of animal collision claims at around 60 per cent, but much higher in rural areas,” said Ms Cain.

“Dogs come in second at around 15 per cent, followed by wombats, emus and cattle.

“The cost of an animal collision could be anything from $3,000 to the car being written off, depending on what the driver hits and how hard they hit it.”

RAA warned motorists that the Stuart Highway, Princes Highway, Sturt Highway, Victor Harbor Road, South Eastern Freeway and Main South Road were hotspots for casualty crashes involving animals.

“Hitting an animal is an unpleasant experience, however, we advise motorists not to brake heavily or swerve to avoid striking them,” said Mr Mountain.

“Doing so could cause you to lose control of your car or hit an oncoming vehicle, increasing your chances of being involved in a more serious crash.

“If you can’t avoid driving in rural areas at dusk and dawn, when animals are more active, reduce your speed, remain alert and remember that animals may be obscured by roadside vegetation.

“Where possible, drivers should safely reduce their speed to avoid a collision with an animal.

“If you do hit and injure an animal, we encourage you to seek help or take the appropriate steps to alleviate the animal’s pain and suffering.”

If the animal has been killed, remove it from the road safely to reduce potential dangers to other motorists and contact the Traffic Management Centre on 1800 018 313, or the nearest police station, which will arrange for the animal to be collected.

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