Woman dies after car swerves to miss kangaroo

Published: January 2, 2018

A 58-year-old woman has died after the vehicle she was in swerved to avoid a kangaroo … and the tragedy has sparked renewed warnings about the dangers of driving along country roads at dawn and dusk.

The accident happened on Grampians Road in Illawarra in western Victoria just before 6am on New year’s Day. The dead woman was from New South Wales.

“Already we’ve had a life lost, the first life lost in 2018,” assistant police commissioner Doug Fryer told reporters. “Just on dawn, a car load of people swerved to miss a kangaroo and tragically we had a woman die in that crash.”

Three other people in the car were also injured. One was airlifted to hospital with non life-threatening injuries and two people sustained minor injuries.

Every year there are many collisions involving animals occur on rural highways and byways … but the advice from bodies such as the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) in New South Wales is clear.

“If you see an animal on the road (alive or dead), do not swerve violently to avoid the animal as this can cause you to lose control of your vehicle or to hit oncoming traffic,” it said. “If you can’t avoid the animal safely you may have to hit it to avoid injury or death to yourself and others.”

“We know that in our country areas at dusk and dawn, we get wildlife on the roads,” Mr Fryer said. “Brake as hard and as safely as you can and brace for impact.”

Late last year, a man suffered horrific injuries after his vehicle rolled off the Carnarvon Highway in Queensland after reportedly attempting to miss a kangaroo.

Also last year, a caravanner was incredibly lucky to avoid serious injury when he swerved to avoid hitting a goat on the North West Coastal Highway near Kalbarri in Western Australia. The man lost control and his 4WD and caravan both toppled over. He was fortunate to escape with only minor bruising.

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Rob Jones
4 years ago

How sad, our deepest sympathy to her loved ones. It doesn’t have to be dawn or dusk to hit a roo. We were in between Ravensthorpe and Esperance about 11 am and a roo came out of the bush and we hit it. luckily we have a steel bulbar on the Ranger and only an indicator light was broken.

4 years ago

I have seen all sorts of animals on the roads from roos, donkeys, horses, camels, farm stock to mice and rats. If you must travel in the early morning or twilight to after dark…just slow down. No violent swerving at all.

I hit a cow in a TOJO 4WD on the Warrego Mine NT road just by the old smelter on the left at night. Could not swerve at all due to a road train coming the other way and its lights blinding me. But I was going slower due to it being dark and braked hard. Even then I bent the “U” channel bumper bar on one side. Just slow down and LIVE !

4 years ago

I drive a Patrol with ARB Steel Bullbar which has had a couple of kangaroo strikes and some Wombats along Jerrong Rd (NSW) of an evening. Fortunately we don’t have Emus around our place – (they are just as bad a hitting a horse). I have Shoo Roo whistles fitted, but when animals come out of forest on single track roads you will strike them regardless of your speed – Your speed will affect to amount of damage caused.

John Rodgers
4 years ago

In my city driving I never swerve to miss a cat or dog..
Just hold onto the steering wheel and take out the animal. I apply the same practice when on the road in the van. Can not afford to swerve with the van attached.
In a lot of deaths on the open outback roads, it is sometimes referred to as a drivers fault like falling asleep etc etc. most cases I am guessing that the driver took evasive action and the rest is history. The animal hops off into the scrub and dies.
Our thought s are always with the family and friends of roads deaths.

Peter B
4 years ago

I agree with John. 50 years ago I learned NEVER SWERVE for an animal. Is an animals life worth more than yours?
Sad to hear about the lady

4 years ago

Ofcourse the most logical and safest thing is to hit the animal and not swerve, but I imagine in the moment our human instincts kick in and tell us to avoid taking an animal’s life. It isn’t smart, but unfortunately it is what it is, we need better education on the dangers of swerving at a high speed, and how the safest thing is to apply the brakes as hard yet safe as you can and brace for impact. It may be common knowledge for country drivers but often people raised in the city won’t know this.
My condolences to the family


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