Wildlife collisions cost drivers millions

Western NSW motorists are among the most at risk of colliding with an animal while driving, according to data from NRMA Insurance.

There were more than 11,000 claims made by NRMA clients during 2016 for accidents involving wildlife.

Dubbo is the worst place in NSW for collisions between vehicles and animals, the data shows, with 161 claims relating to wildlife.

Mudgee was the fourth worst in the state and second worst in Western NSW with 98 incidents, according to the NRMA.

Other hotspots around the region include Bathurst with 90 collisions, Orange with 87, Parkes with 72 and Cowra with 69.

Kangaroos were responsible for more than 80 per cent of accidents involving animals, with wombats also common and were responsible for millions of dollars in claims every year.

According to the NSW Centre for Road Safety one in 41 crashes with casualties involves a vehicle hitting an animal.

Sunrise and sunset are the most dangerous times and motorists are advised to be vigilant at those times.

“Animal crashes occur most frequently around dawn and dusk, when animals, especially kangaroos, become more active and are in search of food and water,” an NRMA Insurance spokesperson said.

“Motorists need to be especially careful on the weekends when the roads are extra busy, and people from the suburbs are using country roads to get to their weekend destinations.

While the natural temptation was to try and swerve to avoid hitting an animal on the road, the best practice was to try and slow down and brake in a straight line.

“Swerving to avoid the animal could put you in more danger,” the spokesperson said.

“If you hit an animal, call WIRES Wildlife Rescue. If there is a road hazard, please also call the police.

“If you stop to check on the animal, please ensure you do so in a safe place, away from incoming traffic. Be mindful of your safety and that of other motorists.”