Motorists heading for a summer break in regional NSW are being reminded to be on high alert for wildlife and livestock straying onto country roads.
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said regional NSW was a great destination over the Christmas and New Year holidays but warned city motorists they could encounter unfamiliar hazards while driving.
“Wildlife and livestock might be an uncommon occurrence on busy city roads but can be familiar sight on roads, particularly at dawn and dusk when many animals are at their most active,” Ms Aitchison said.
“It’s simply a matter of being aware there could be animals around and remaining vigilant when driving on rural and regional roads, and knowing what to do if you come across a kangaroo, echidna or even an emu in your path.
“The first thing is to brake if it’s safe to do so and, most importantly, resist the urge to swerve to miss the animal.
“It’s safer to strike an animal than to swerve and risk losing control of the vehicle – twice as many people are killed and injured in crashes resulting from swerving.”
Between 2017 and 2021 there were 557 reported collisions with animals on western region roads that resulted in 165 serious injuries and, sadly, six deaths.
Kangaroos and wallabies pose the most common risk to drivers, but wild horses and livestock can also be regularly found on the road.
“Regional drivers are reporting an increase in the number of animals on western roads and also animals strikes, possibly attributed to drier weather conditions this year forcing animals to move about more seeking food and water,” Ms Aitchison said.
“When animals do stray onto the road they will often move very quickly and their behaviour can be quite unpredictable, so it is important to give them plenty of room.
“And when you’re driving on country roads, always take note of warning signs alerting you to the presence of animals in the area. If you see these signs, slow down, stay alert and be prepared to stop if required.”
Safe driving on country roads:
- Reduce your speed: Slow down and be on the lookout for wildlife on or near the road.
- Stay alert: Animals can be more active near waterholes and creeks and harder to see at sunrise and sunset.
- Brake safely: Apply your brakes in a careful, controlled manner.
- Don’t swerve: You may lose control of your vehicle if you swerve too harshly.
- Follow the signs: Take note of warning signs alerting you to the presence of animals in the area.
- Report injured wildlife: Call WIRESlaunch on 1300 094 737 or use the IFAW Wildlife rescue applaunch to find a suitable wildlife rescue organisation for your location.
For more information, visit the Animals On Country Roadslaunch website.