AAMI reveals 196 roo crash claims from Southern Downs

THERE are certain places you want to see kangaroos: open paddocks, opposite the Queen on a $1 coin and in black-and-white Skippy TV marathons.

But throw a windshield in the mix at high speed and those iconic marsupials become decidedly unwelcome.

Insurer AAMI has revealed it handled 196 kangaroo crash claims from the Southern Downs last year, with Warwick's 4370 postcode recording 89 collisions.

The Stanthorpe 4380 postcode was next in line with 34 crashes, followed by Inglewood (4387) with 32 and Leyburn (4365) with 16.

The insurer dealt with 12 roo crash claims from Allora's 4362 postcode, Clifton (4361) drew seven claims and Killarney (4373) recorded six.

AAMI assessed 19,000 animal crash claims nationally in 2014.

"Wildlife is unpredictable and often drivers won't get any warning before an animal appears in front of them," AAMI spokesman Reuben Aitchison said.

"When driving on country roads, be aware of your environment and slow down to give yourself more time to react if you see an animal crossing or standing on the road ahead."

NRMA Insurance researchers have found kangaroos and wallabies make up more than 80% of animal collisions on Queensland roads, with the number of smashes increasing during the winter.

The insurer's records revealed it fielded more than 1380 claims for animal crashes on Queensland roads last year, although a University of New South Wales study into crashes between 1996 and 2005 found the vast majority of crashes go unreported.

"Often, drivers swerve to miss animals only to hit roadside obstacles, such as trees and poles or oncoming vehicles," it found.

Department of Transport and Main Roads figures showed animal crashes were responsible for 1.8% of all deaths on Queensland roads last year, with four people losing their lives.

They caused five deaths the previous year.

-APN NEWSDESK

KANGA CRASHES

AAMI's roo crash claims for 2014

  • Warwick - 89
  • Stanthorpe - 34
  • Inglewood - 32
  • Leyburn - 16
  • Allora - 12
  • Clifton - 7
  • Killarney - 6
  • TOTAL - 196

-APN NEWSDESK

AVOID WRECK AND ROO-IN

AAMI's top tips for keeping clear of Skippy

  • If you notice road kill, slow down and pay extra attention because this is often a sign of wildlife in the area.
  • If you see an animal on the road, slow down and brake but avoid swerving. It is far less dangerous to keep driving and damage your vehicle than swerve to avoid it and collide with another vehicle or tree.
  • Be extra vigilant when driving at dawn, dusk or night because this is when animals are most active.
  • If you have a crash or near-miss with an animal, flash your headlights to warn other drivers that there is danger ahead.
  • Keep your local wildlife rescue service emergency number on hand in case an animal is injured.

DRIVING DISTRACTED

A Monash University study of 340 serious crashes in NSW and Victoria between 2000 and 2011 found driver distraction was at fault in 57% of cases.

The biggest contributors were:

  • Intoxication - 13.5%
  • Falling asleep - 11.8%
  • Fatigue - 10.9%
  • Failure to look - 3.2%
  • Passenger interaction - 3.2%
  • Feeling ill - 2.6%
  • Blacking out - 2.6%
  • Feeling stressed - 1.8%
  • Looking but failing to see - 1.5%
  • Animal or insect in vehicle - 1.4%
  • Using a mobile phone - 0.9%
  • Changing music - 0.9%
  • Adjusting vehicle systems - 0.9%
  • Looking at vehicle systems - 0.9%
  • Searching for an object - 0.9%


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