Staying Safe on Australian Roads: Our Biggest Danger

For many countries I would imagine the biggest dangers driving on the roads would be fog, rain, or maybe even snow. Not here, not in Australia. I was reminded of this as we drove along the Pacific Highway towards Coffs Harbour a couple of weeks ago.

My satnav gave me a warning that, unless you live in Australia, your satnav definitely will not give you. Here’s the warning…

kangaroo warningCan you see it? I’m talking about this…

kangaroo warning 2Kangaroos running across the road

Yes, I don’t think there’s any doubt that wildlife, and most specifically kangaroos, present the biggest danger on Australian roads. As you can see, my satnav has warned me that for the next 10 km there is a likelihood of kangaroos running across the road.

This is a warning that must be taken seriously.

The problem is national, we have kangaroos everywhere. For example, in August last year a motorcyclist died when swerving to avoid a kangaroo here in Queensland and just last September Victorian police were voicing their concern at the number of motorists being killed in crashes with kangaroos. There had been four deaths involving kangaroos in central Victoria in the first nine months of 2015.

Problem is, as we’ve already seen, some people swerve to avoid a kangaroo and end up colliding with an oncoming car or maybe a tree. ‘According to the National Roads & Motorists’ Association (NRMA) of the country, there are over 20,000 kangaroo strikes on Australian roads each year costing over AU $75 million in insurance claims and resulting in the incalculable human cost of serious injuries and fatalities.’ Source: trafficsafe.org

Clearly you do not want to be hitting a kangaroo or, even worse, swerving to avoid one and hitting something else.

Avoiding kangaroos

  • Be extra careful when driving at dawn or dusk, that’s when kangaroos are most active
  • Drive more slowly in areas where there is a higher likelihood of kangaroos
  • Try to brake in a straight line; do not swerve to avoid a kangaroo
  • Sound your horn and flash or lights in an effort to get the kangaroo to move away from you
  • Take full notice of roadside (and satnav) signs warning of kangaroo activity in the area
  • Kangaroos often travel in groups, if you see one kangaroo near the road, there could be others close by

One other solution, apparently, is to buy a Volvo after 2020. Seems they are working on a safety feature to detect and then automatically avoid a collision with kangaroos using radar, camera systems and automatic braking. More about that in the above link to trafficsafe.

I can’t imagine everyone in Australia rushing out and buying a new Volvo though, so perhaps driving more carefully is our best option.

Oh, and if there are any kangaroos reading this, watch where you’re going will you? Keep your eyes peeled…

kangaroo

FreeImages.com/Rhys Jones

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • pete taylor February 4, 2016, 1:43 am | Link

    Hi Bob,
    Had a mate who went over a low hump back bridge and hit a bullock,
    the bullock? was cut up and taken by the locals.the car?,well all the bits were thown on to a truck for scrape. my mate?, after the kind medics had superglued him back togetther, he spent 6 monthe eating hospital food. he is ok now and is able to laugh about it

    • BobinOz February 4, 2016, 5:08 pm | Link

      Oh, we have a whole range of wacky wildlife you can hit on our roads. Emus, pigs, water buffalo, camels, huge cats, dingoes,and as you say bullocks and so much more. I could go on and on.

      Sounds as bad as hitting a brick wall! Glad to hear your mate survived it okay, that’s the main thing.

  • Bronnie February 2, 2016, 5:28 pm | Link

    Yes, they’re a menace alright, my friend recently had his car totalled by a boomer. Thankfully he was OK, kept his head cool and didn’t swerve wildly. Thanks for these reminders.

    • BobinOz February 2, 2016, 8:35 pm | Link

      Yes, you do have to keep your cool, bit like when a huntsman spider drops in your lap when you’re doing 100 on the motorway. Skippy would have never have been stupid enough to run in front of a car. I don’t understand why the rest of them are so dumb. 🙂

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