Why drivers need to beware of kangaroo run-ins on the road this autumn
- Kangaroo collisions are a major danger on roads in autumn and during the Easter break, according to QBE claims data
- Accidents often occur in regional areas and collision hot spots across Australia, the data reveals
- Drivers can avoid car accidents and stay protected by understanding risks, considering insurance, and knowing what to do after an accident.
Drivers on Australian roads should stay vigilant after QBE claims data1 revealed peak kangaroo collision season has arrived and coincides with an expected surge in domestic car travel over the Easter holiday period.
According to the data from QBE, kangaroos are the biggest danger on the road when it comes to animal accidents, accounting for 82 per cent of animal collisions claims, and more kangaroo collision claims are lodged in autumn than any other season.
QBE’s National Manager - Motor Claims, Norm Casamento, says now is the time to prepare.
“Data from the last three years shows kangaroo collision claims volumes increase by 32 per cent in autumn compared to summer, indicating Australians are facing a higher risk in coming weeks - so it’s important to be prepared and stay alert on the road.”
Domestic travel increases the risk of car accidents
The risk of kangaroo related motor vehicle and car accidents is likely to be even higher this autumn and over the Easter break when the impact of COVID-19 is considered, explains Casamento.
“If we look at trends outside of 2020, when seasonal averages weren’t impacted by lockdown, there’s an almost 50 per cent increase in claims in autumn compared to summer.
"Autumn coincides with the school holidays and the end of daylight savings. So, with less daylight, restrictions eased and more cars likely on the roads over the holidays, we can expect more kangaroo run-ins.”
Owner at Young Smash Repairs, Jimmy Robinson, says he’s also expecting more collision repairs.
“Every day I can see between one to six cars that have hit a kangaroo. Typically, those numbers are at the higher end of the scale when we come out of summer and into autumn.
“We see lots of holidays interrupted when people have to leave their cars at our shop to be fixed.”
Research by Tourism Australia2 conducted in March 2021 confirms many Australians are likely to be travelling in coming months. It revealed a significant 87 per cent of Australians feel safe to travel domestically (up from 45 per cent in July 2020), and 36 per cent intend to take their next domestic trip during the next three months.
Regional areas, dawn and dusk riskiest for hitting a kangaroo
QBE data also found that regional areas, which are often popular holiday destinations and routes, saw the highest claims volumes and revealed collision hot spots across Australia.
"The locations we see with the most kangaroo collisions are regional areas where roads might be less lit, are travelled on at higher speeds and where kangaroo populations are higher,” says Casamento.
“About 70 per cent of my work is fixing cars that have hit a kangaroo,” says Robinson whose business is based in regional Australia.
Weather changes, particularly in kangaroo dense regional areas, can also have a strong influence on kangaroo road behaviour, he adds.
"If we've had dry weather, kangaroos can move to the side of the road looking for fresh food. Equally, if we’ve had lots of rain, kangaroos have to compete with livestock for feed and can move to the side of the road to eat food that hasn’t been contaminated.”
The data also revealed most kangaroo collisions took place at dawn and dusk between 5am - 7am and 5pm - 8pm when kangaroos are most active.
Kangaroo collision hot spots
|South Australia||Port Augusta, Cleve, Renmark|
|Queensland||Roma, Longreach, Goodiwindi|
|Western Australia||Esperance, Busselton, Albany|
|Australian Capital Territory||Canberra, Hume, Fyshwick|
|New South Wales||Broken Hill, Deniliquin, Dubbo|
|Tasmania||Scottsdale, Devonport, Campbell Town|
|Northern Territory||Alice Springs, Katherine, Darwin|
|Victoria||Heathcote, Dunkeld and Mildura|
Avoiding collision shock with preparation and the right car insurance
Incidents involving kangaroos can be dangerous and a run-in can leave drivers reeling.
“It can be a shock,” cautions Robinson who has been involved in a collision himself.
“They’re big animals and at night you might not even see them. I’ve hit a kangaroo myself, it jumped in front of me without notice, I didn't see it coming.”
In addition to being a safety risk, according to the QBE data, kangaroo collisions can cost thousands - causing an average of $5,000 in damage. In some cases, repair can exceed vehicle values entirely.
“When cars hit kangaroos, they can damage anything from the headlight to the radiator, and sometimes the kangaroo spins, whipping the side of the car and causing damage there,” explains Robinson.
Drivers can avoid car accidents and stay protected by remaining vigilant, understanding risks, and considering comprehensive car insurance or vehicle cover, says Casamento.
“Plan your road trip to minimise risk. Drop your speed and stay alert if you’re driving in unfamiliar territory or areas that are likely home to kangaroos – particularly at dawn and dusk. It could save a collision or even your life.
“If you come across a kangaroo, brake in a controlled manner to avoid a collision if possible. Authorities don’t recommend swerving, it’s extremely dangerous to drivers and passengers.”
“If you don’t already have comprehensive car insurance, it’s worth considering cover if you’re looking for financial protection.”
So, what to do if you hit a kangaroo?
Some accidents are unavoidable, so it’s essential to understand what to do if you find yourself in a situation involving a kangaroo collision, says Casamento.
“If a collision happens, ensure everyone is safe as a priority and call 000 if you need medical help.
“If you encounter an injured kangaroo, it’s best to contact the local wildlife rescue organisation or police station who can talk you through what to do.”
Once you’re safe and able, contact your insurer if you need to make a claim, he says.
“We’re here to organise a tow truck if you need it, and we can connect you with the most suitable and convenient smash repairer. Our priority is to get you back on the road safely as soon as possible.”
Drivers can find contact information for local wildlife organisations on the Fauna website, and via the IFAW Wildlife Rescue App. Wildlife Rescue Australia’s 24-hour national hotline (1300 596 457) can also be contacted for wildlife rescue advice.
QBE customers can lodge a car insurance claim online or via phone on 133 723.
Top tips for drivers this Easter break
Before you get on the road:
- Understand the risks – regional areas, recent dry or wet weather, and dawn and dusk driving can mean more kangaroo encounters
- Plan your trip with run-in risks in mind – consider travelling at a slower pace in kangaroo populated areas, can you avoid traveling during dawn or dusk?
- Make sure your insurance details are up to date
- Save wildlife organisation, authority and insurer contact details to your phone.
After you’re on the road:
- Drop your speed and stay alert in unfamiliar or wildlife populated areas
- If you come across a kangaroo, brake to avoid a collision – don’t swerve
- If you’re in an accident prioritise safety, call 000 if needed, then contact your insurer
- If you hit a kangaroo, contact a wildlife rescue organisation or the local police.
1 QBE motor claims data 2018 - 2020
2 Tourism Australia Consumer Research, Domestic Sentiment Tracker, March 2021