INVERLOCH, Leongatha and Phillip Island are the highest risk areas locally for vehicle collisions with animals, although it’s not as bad here as it is in the Wellington Shire.
RACV Insurance claims data show that more than three collisions with animals on the Wellington Shire’s roads were reported each week.
East Gippsland Shire is the region’s next worst, followed by City of Latrobe.
RACV General Manager Insurance Paul Northey said that the number of insurance claims relating to collisions between vehicles and animals across Victoria decreased by 3.5 per cent to 4561 compared to the previous year.
“We know that wild animals are generally most active at dawn and dusk and not surprisingly the majority of collisions involving kangaroos occurring around 6am, while wombat incidents peaked at 9pm.
“The data also showed that collisions could happen at any time during the year, although there was a large spike in the number of collisions involving wombats in August.
“Continuing the trend from previous years, kangaroos were the most common animal involved in collisions, accounting for 79 per cent of RACV animal collision claims in 2014.
“Wombats overtook dogs as the second most common animal involved in collision claims.”
Mr Northey said drivers should always be on the lookout for animals and be aware that kangaroos are increasingly found in expanding urban areas.
“RACV received 3593 kangaroo-related claims, accounting for $15 million of the total $20 million paid to members as a result of animal collisions,” he said.
“Overall, the cost of animal collision claims averaged $4481, but for the 66 claims involving cattle the average claim was much higher at $7468.”
Mr Northey said drivers should slow down when travelling round bends and over crests as these could obscure animals that may have wandered onto the side of the road.
“Motorists should also heed warning signs advising of animals in the area and of temporary circumstances such as cattle crossing roads,” he said.
“It is pleasing that many members of the public report injured animals to relevant wildlife organisations.
“RACV encourages motorists who find sick, orphaned or injured wildlife to call Wildlife Victoria on 1300 094 535 as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Mr Northey advised that motorists should hold adequate comprehensive insurance coverage to ensure that costs associated with a collision are recovered.
“Whether a collision happens on a country road, highway or urban street, colliding with an animal can put you and your family at risk and also prove costly if your vehicle needs repairing.”

Highest risk areas for collisions with animals

Inverloch: 13 (in 2014), 9 (in 2013)
Leongatha: 11 (2014), 7 (2013)
Wilson’s Prom: 10, 4
Cowes: 9, 7
Foster: 7, 13
Phillip Island: 6, 9
Mirboo North: 6, 8
Grantville: 5, 3
Rhyll: 5, 3
Fish Creek 4, 10.

Tips for avoiding a collision with an animal

1. Take extra care at dawn and dusk when animals are more active.
2. Be more alert on road crests and bends, and on roads with shrubs or bush on the side, as these can obscure animals.
3. If you see an animal, brake but do not swerve. It may be your first instinct to swerve but to do so could cause you to lose control of your vehicle and possibly run into another car.
4. Be mindful of signs that advise motorists if animals are in the area.
5. If you notice dead animals, slow down, as it is a sign that animals are in the area.