Roadkill Avoidance Snapshot
- Colliding with animals while driving can be dangerous, expensive and inconvenient.
- Slow down and be particularly vigilant when driving between dusk and dawn.
- Sometimes the safest option is to actually hit an animal, rather than attempt to avoid them.
- Ethically, if safe to do so, you should check any animals you have hit to ascertain if they are dead or injured and whether they are carrying young. Sometimes the kindest option is humane euthanasia.
- If safe to do so remove dead animals as far as possible from the roadside to prevent injuries to birds of prey and scavengers, some of which are listed as endangered.
- Keep an injured animal in a warm, quiet and dark place and contact the experts (see below links).
Roadkill Avoidance Tactics
The best avoidance tactic is to be alert while driving. Scan the road edges for signs of wildlife. On warm moonlit nights and at dusk and dawn, animal movements tend to be greater, so take particular care at those times.
Native animals are often dazzled by headlights and their natural reaction is to freeze on the spot. You can use this knowledge in a couple of ways:
- Flicking your headlights rapidly between high and low beam will prevent the animal from adjusting to the light conditions and frequently causes it to remain frozen in position, making it easier to avoid by driving around it. Note that where there is one animal there maybe more, such as young following a mother.
- The alternative method is to reduce lights to low beam and sound your car horn. By reducing to low beam, the animals recover from their dazed state and the sound of the horn will startle them into escaping the oncoming vehicle. Be aware that animals are unpredictable and may not necessarily take the most direct route to safety. They may in fact jump further into your path, so you should also commence to brake to decrease speed as rapidly as you safely can.
Slow down, the slower you drive, the greater chance you have of safely avoiding an animal collision. It has been found that 50% of roadkill happens where vehicles travel over 80 km/hr. Aim to drive below 60 km/hr on dirt roads and below 80 km/hr on main roads. Look out for the road signs. Wildlife warning signs are placed in areas of high roadkill. Be particularly vigilant in these areas, as well as blind spots such as bends and crests. Avoid littering as rubbish on roadsides attracts animals.
Response to Sick or Injured Tasmanian Wildlife
More Information on Roadkill Avoidance