The Question:

Confronting an animal on the road presents you with a few potential issues.
The question is then, what should you do?

Scope of the problem:

Each year in Australia thousands of collisions occur between motor vehicles and animals (Rowden, Steinhardt & Sheehan, 2008). According to the NSW Centre for Road Safety one in seven crashes on country roads involves an animal (NSW Centre for Road Safety, 2014). Animal strikes are a major problem, obviously, the bigger the animal, the bigger the danger.

The nature of the Australian landscape and broad expanse of rural roads exposes road users to encounters with wildlife (Rowden, Steinhardt & Sheehan, 2008). Animals by nature are unpredictable. They may jump in front of your vehicle even if they see you coming. Some animals travel together, this means that if one decides to cross the road the, others may follow. Even if the animal has just crossed the road, there is no telling if it decides to turn around and cross again.

Even animals calmly standing at the side of the road may bolt unexpectedly towards the vehicle. Due to this unpredictability it means that it is up to the driver to take necessary precautions to avoid or reduce the impact of a collision.

We hope this Q&A: Avoiding Animal Collisions helps organisations approach this difficult issue. Avoiding Animal Collisions may not be possible but there are strategies which can assist. Please see this paper for more information.