Australia is known for its vast landscape and rich wildlife.
As part of our outgoing and free-spirited lifestyle, we Aussies love to go on a good road trip away with friends and family. There is a sense of freedom that comes from being out on the open road, and while the goal is to get to your destination as quickly and safely as possible, it’s the journey and the memories that can be the most rewarding.
However, driving for long periods across long stretches of road, often at high speeds can impact your car, your driver and your passengers.
Between school holidays, public holidays and the days becoming shorter heading into the winter months, unfortunately, there tends to be an increased risk of motorists hitting native wildlife on the road. That being said, a lengthy journey requires planning, concentration, and patience to make the drive safe for everyone – even for our animal friends, you may encounter!
In this article, we’ve compiled some tips to help you prepare for a road trip and have a safe and fun holiday while also protecting wildlife on the road.
The price of wildlife collisions: why we should care
In Australia, it is sadly estimated that around 10 million animals are struck on the road each year, from the larger mammals like kangaroos, possums and wombats, to smaller animals such as reptiles, birds, echidnas.
Not only does this affect our precious wildlife, but these scenarios can also cause distress for the driver, damage vehicles and injure passengers too.
The outcome is often dependent on the type of impact and the animal’s size. While vehicle crashes involving larger animals are not uncommon in Australia, incidents involving wildlife are also adding up.
Tips to avoid animal collisions when on a road trip
While all of this is a sad reality, better driver safety comes from knowledge and preparation before you set out.
So, for wildlife safety and the welfare of you and your passengers, here are three quick reminders to help ensure your family getaway is as fun as you deserve!
1. Prepare your car
Tuning up your vehicle before a road trip and practising safety standards while on the drive are essentials. Always remember to:
- Wear a seatbelt
- Check if all the lights are working
- Make sure your tyres are in good condition
- Regularly maintain windscreen wipers to ensure clear vision
- Ensure your windscreen is clean and doesn’t have any distracting chips or cracks
For more information, you can read our blog: Preparing Your Car For A Road Trip
2. Always be alert and aware
Distracted driving is one of the top reasons for vehicular accidents. To help with focus, take regular breaks from driving and try to avoid anything that may cause distractions. Also, keep your eyes on the road and stay on the lookout for animals.
3. Moderate your speed
Be extra alert when driving at dawn and dusk as this is when many animals are generally more active.
When driving in conditions with poor visibility, where bushland comes right up to the edge of the road or where animals are known to roam, moderating your speed will give you a better chance of avoiding a collision with an animal, which can save the life the animal, prevent injuries to you and prevent damage to your vehicle.
What to do in case of a wildlife accident
We can all participate in reducing the animal road toll with knowledge and safety.
If you do come across an injured or distressed animal, contact a local wildlife rescue group in the area you are in, and they will let you know what you can do and how they can assist.
Stay on the safe side when driving with O'Brien®
At O'Brien®, we care about you and our wildlife, especially when going on a road trip with your friends and family.
So, before you set out, check your windscreen for any distracting chips or cracks to prevent any obstructed views of the road ahead. If you do need a chip repair or a windscreen replacement, our local glass experts can help you prepare before a road trip so you’re all set.
Or if something happens while you’re away, we also offer emergency call-out options and with hundreds of technicians across Australia able to help with windscreen repairs, we’re here for you.