How to avoid hitting kangaroos
Article by Matilda Douglas-Henry
Driving in Australia poses many risks, with the presence of kangaroos on our roads one of the top unpredictabilities. In many circumstances a kangaroo/vehicle collision, should it arise, is unavoidable; however there are some important factors to be mindful of, and certain driving tips you can practice do ensure as best you can that you won’t hit a kangaroo. In this article, we will break down the preventative measures you can carry out when behind the wheel to avoid hitting kangaroos.
Avoid driving at dawn or dusk, or exercise extra caution if necessary
All animal-related collisions have a higher chance of happening at dawn, dusk, and later in the evening, and this is particularly so with kangaroos. Most kangaroo-related accidents happen between 5pm and 10pm, as the risk level is heightened by lower road visibility during that period*. However, kangaroos are just as likely to be up and about first thing in the morning, so it’s important to be careful then too.
Drive cautiously when approaching a kangaroo sign, especially in remote or unfamiliar areas
This is a pretty obvious one, but many Australian drivers are so accustomed to the wildlife signs that they don’t take them into consideration. It’s absolutely essential to slow down and be aware of blind spots and your surroundings when entering these areas; the signs are there for a reason!
Slow down if you see kangaroos alongside the road.
Kangaroos typically travel in mobs. If you or your passengers notice them on the side of the road or nearby, slow down and proceed with caution. There will almost always be more nearby.
Be careful driving in winter
Winter has the highest rates of animal-related collisions, and approximately 90 per cent of those collisions involve kangaroos*. This is likely due to shorter days and potentially icy/wet roads in certain parts of the country.
Break, don’t swerve!
Many drivers will instinctively swerve when a kangaroo crosses in front of them. While it might seem in the best interest of the kangaroo, unpredictable swerving is one of the most dangerous things you can do on the road; it is highly likely you will collide with something else, and at worst another car. In fact, between 2001 to 2005, 42 per cent of animal-related fatal accidents in New South Wales were a product of drivers swerving to get out of the animal’s way. Instead, try to brake, and ensure that you do so in a straight line consistent with the road*.
We hope this has been helpful in offering some tips on how to avoid hitting kangaroos while driving. For more data on kangaroos on our roads, read our “Kangaroo car accident statistics” article.