Fears for motorist safety as animal crash hot spots revealed
EXPERTS fear for the safety of animals and motorists with coronavirus travel restrictions relaxing at the time when Queensland typically experiences its highest number of animal collisions.
Animal welfare groups and road authorities are warning Queensland motorists to drive safely as they return to the roads in the cooler months.
Winter was a danger period for animal collisions with a 15 per cent jump between May and August, according to AAMI Head of Motor Claims Anna Cartwright.
"Now is the time for drivers to keep their eyes peeled for wildlife crossing roads," Ms Cartwright said.
"Be extra vigilant especially at dawn and dusk when visibility can be difficult, and nocturnal animals are more active."
This year specifically that danger period coincides with relaxed coronavirus restrictions.
"While it's great Queenslanders can get back out on the roads … it's important drivers take caution on rural roads where wildlife might be trying to cross or look for food," RACQ spokeswoman Lucinda Ross said.
NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) spokeswoman Kristie Newton said animals were extra vulnerable following this year's bushfire season.
"The summer bushfires have wiped out an estimated one billion native animals, and the devastating loss of so much bushland has left many displaced and vulnerable."
"As we head into winter, we may see increased activity particularly from nocturnal wildlife as they cross roads in search of food and water … increasing the likelihood of them being hit," Ms Newton said.
"It's vitally important to slow down and be aware of your environment," Ms Cartwright said.
Data from AAMI collision claims between 1 February 2019 and 31 January 2020 showed rural Queensland roads, around Roma, Goondiwindi and Moranbah to be the most dangerous in relation to animal strikes.
AAMI's data showed motorists were most likely to experience major collisions with kangaroos, with 84 per cent.
Wallabies accounted for five per cent of total collisions: wombats two per cent; deer two per cent; and birds one per cent.
Ms Newton urged motorists not to abandon animals that were injured in accidents but warned "never approach an adult kangaroo".
"If you've been involved in an accident with wildlife, please pull over where it is safe to check whether the animal is injured," she said.
"If it has passed away, check its pouch as young animals will not survive long in these conditions."
"Keep any distressed animals warm, ideally wrapped in a blanket, jumper or cardboard box, and keep quiet until you can call for help."
The worst day of the week for animal crashes was Friday, followed by the weekend.
Queensland animal collision hot spots
- St George