How to Avoid Animal-Vehicle Collisions
It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of animals are hit by vehicles in Australia each year. Marsupials like kangaroos and wallabies are hit most often. Animals on or near roads can be unpredictable and can pose a real threat to drivers, especially in rural areas or areas with a dense and active wildlife population.
Sadly, some animal-vehicle collisions are unavoidable, but several things can limit the risk. Here are some safety tips as taught by the instructors at Pass First Go Driving Lessons.
Road Safety Tips to Avoid Hitting Animals
Be Alert and Watchful
Speed kills, so remember to stick to the speed limit. Speeding decreases your reaction time while increasing the distance you’ll need to stop. Road rules are there for a reason, so be extra careful in areas with signs that indicate animal crossings.
Be alert and actively scan your surroundings for animals, especially on the shoulder of the road. Though animals are more likely to be found in rural areas, it’s still important to remember to watch for animals in residential areas, even in tunnels and on bridges.
Be Light Smart
Most animals are more active at dawn and dusk. To limit the risk, it’s best where possible to avoid driving at these times. Restrict your driving to daylight hours if you can, especially in rural areas.
To better illuminate the road ahead, use your high-beam headlights if it’s safe to do so. The sooner you can spot animals, the more time you will have to slow down, move over or honk. High-beams could also help you spot the reflective eyes of some animals, so be on the lookout.
Seeing one animal is a good indication that others could also be around, so slow down and watch for more, as the one you see might not be the one you’ll hit. If the vehicle ahead of you slows down, be cautious and do so too. They might be able to see something that you can’t.
If an animal is on the road don’t swerve violently to avoid hitting them, this could cause you to lose control of the vehicle or swerve into oncoming traffic. Slow down and brake firmly, sticking to your lane and you will have more control to steer around the animal at a slow speed. Always be aware of other drivers; it’s better to hit an animal than cause another person’s death.
What to Do if You Hit an Animal
First of all, stop in a safe place and turn your hazard lights on to warn other drivers. Call emergency services if any person is injured. If the animal is still alive, be careful, as it could harm you. It’s best to call one of the many wildlife rescue groups for assistance. If it’s a domestic pet, call the owner, police or RSPCA or if you are able, take it to the nearest shelter or vet.
If the animal is dead, try to move it off the road if you can, and it’s safe to do so. This could save the lives of other drivers and animals. Should you have hit a kangaroo, wallaby or wombat, remember to check for any joey’s in their pouches, you might be able to save the baby’s life.
Contact Pass First Go to Learn Defensive Driving
Animals are unpredictable, so knowing what to do to avoid accidents while remaining in control of the vehicle is essential. Always remember to wear a seatbelt, stay sober and be alert. This could save not only human lives but also those of animals.
Pass First Go Driving Lessons teach evasive driving techniques to help you react safely to wildlife or other animals on roads. Knowing what to do in an emergency could save lives. Contact them today to book your lessons.