The death last weekend of a motorcyclist following a collision with a cow on an Outback road has once again thrown the spotlight on the dangers that wandering wildlife poses to grey nomads and other travellers.
A recent survey by vehicle insurer AAMI identified Queanbeyan in southern New South Wales as the worst place in the country for collisions between vehicles and animals.
The Eyre Highway near Madura, on the Nullarbor Plain, was another hotspot.
Most accidents involved cars hitting kangaroos, but there were also the occasional collision with wombats, wallabies, koalas and even a flock of galahs.
The AAMI survey assessed 19,000 animal collision claims filed nationally last year.
AAMI’s Reuben Aitchison said animal collisions generally increased by about 30% in the winter months.
“We see quite a significant spike in animal-related collisions,” he said. “They tend to be around regional reserves or national parks or state forests where we do see a lot of animal activity.”
And he warned motorists driving in rural areas to take extra care.
“Be aware of the environment and slow down,” he said. “We have had cases across the country when the first that somebody knew they had hit an animal was when a kangaroo appeared in the passenger seat beside them, doing quite a bit of damage on the way through, so it can be quite a terrifying experience.”