Staying safe and protected on Australia's roads

Sheen Panel Service on 2 August 2019

Australia's unique biodiversity and vast distances means that sometimes, animals and vehicles come into contact. In fact, around 5% of all car accidents on Australia roads involve animals, with kangaroos accounting for 8 out of 10 of these collisions.

Collisions with animals are an unfortunate reality of driving in Australia. Thankfully, accidentally hitting an animal is not seen as your fault in the eyes of the law, or your insurer. After hitting an animal, there are several things you can do to make the road safe again, and begin processing your insurance claim.

Sheen Panel Service is here to help if you hit an animal with your car. From emergency towing, to replacement vehicles, to smash repairs, we will work with your insurer throughout every step of the process to get you and your vehicle back on the road.

Is hitting an animal an at-fault accident?

Thankfully, no. If you accidentally hit an animal with your vehicle, your insurance agency will not find you at fault. There are other things that can void your car insurance, for example, if you are intoxicated or driving irresponsibly. But an accident involving an animal is not your fault.

There is a chance that hitting an animal may raise your car insurance premiums. There is no way for car insurance companies to claim against another driver in this type of accident, so they may pass the costs on to you in the form of future premiums.

How do I avoid kangaroos?

kangaroos jumping in front of car

Although kangaroos are a national symbol of Australia, their huge numbers make them a national emergency in rural areas. There's an estimated 50 million kangaroos in Australia. That's two for every Australia citizen, with a few to spare.

Due to their size, strength, and speed, kangaroos are effectively dynamic masses of muscle. They can easily cause catastrophic damage cars travelling at speed. As always, the best way to enjoy wildlife is from a distance. Here are some tips to keep you safe from kangaroos when driving:

  • Slow down if you see a roo. Kangaroos can move up to 70 kilometres an hour, so it's up to you to pump the brakes.
  • Brake in a straight line. By swerving later, you have more control over your vehicle and can better determine the sporadic directional changes of kangaroos.
  • Take extra care around dusk and dawn. Kangaroos are most active during these times, and are often on the move.

What do I do after I hit an animal with my car?

Accidentally hitting an animal is not against the law, nor is it deemed to be your fault. However, after hitting an animal, you do have certain rights and responsibilities to uphold. Follow these steps after you hit an animal:

  1. Pull over to the side of the road. Turn your hazard lights on.
  2. Assess the animal's condition. If it is alive, use a towel or clothing to protect yourself if it is lashing out.
  3. Check in pouches for young. If you find a baby, contact a local veterinarian service or wildlife rescue operation.
  4. Make the road is safe for other drivers. Remove the animal is it is dead, or contact the police to help end the animal's suffering.
  5. If you hit a family pet, try to contact the owner. If this fails, then contact the police.

After the road is safe, you should assess your own vehicle and take photographs. There will likely be some cosmetic damage, but there may even be some structural damage, depending on the size of the animal. You should always have your car looked at by a panel beater following a collision with an animal.

If you're in the greater Melbourne area, Sheen Panel Service can organise a tow to your location. While we assess and repair your vehicle, we will liaise with your insurer to get you back on the road. We even have accident replacement vehicles at your disposal.

Claiming after an incident with an animal

bumper scratch on car

Only comprehensive car insurance will offer you financial protection against collisions with an animal. If you commonly drive through an area with a high population of wildlife, it may be in your interest to get the best possible protection.

Having your car assessed by a qualified panel beater is an absolute necessity following a collision with an animal. It's especially relevant if your vehicle has sustained damage in areas where animals commonly come into contact with a vehicle.

  • Front bumper damage can often be a cosmetic sign of deeper, structural damage.
  • Front end damage can often lead to engine and electrical damage if not addressed.
  • Side damage can directly affect the safety rating and effectiveness of your vehicle.

Contact Sheen Panel Service

If your vehicle has been in a collision with an animal, you owe it to yourself and your future passengers to have it seen to by a professional. Sheen Panel Service offers superior panel beating solutions for your car, no matter the make, the model, or the type of damage it has sustained.

To get back on the road, contact Sheen Panel Service. We can help by arranging emergency towing and replacement vehicles, and working with your insurer to fix your car. You can also Upload Your Smash for a quick quote.