What to do in an animal crash

The steps to take if you hit an animal while driving.

Each year, thousands of traffic crashes are caused by wildlife. 

Depending on the size of the animal hit, these crashes can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle.

RACQ Manager Motoring Advice Joel Tucker said motorists needed to take precautions when driving in areas densely populated by wildlife.

“Try to avoid driving around dawn and dusk, when the animals might be more active,” Mr Tucker said.

“Keep an eye out if there are water sources near the road, as animals often congregate there.

“In the event of an imminent crash, you’re better off slowing down in a straight line rather than swerving, as you may lose control.”

Mr Tucker said motorists should also have their vehicles inspected following a collision with wildlife.

“The same process applies to any crash and it is also important to attempt to get help for the injured animal,” he said.

“If you have hit a large animal like a kangaroo, there is likely to be noticeable damage on most vehicles that should be inspected.”

Steps to take in the event of a crash with wildlife

Ensure your safety

If possible, move your vehicle safely to the side of the road and park in a safe place, turn your hazard lights on to warn other passing motorists and make sure all vehicle occupants are ok.

Check on the animal

If safe, exit your vehicle and approach the animal quietly and calmly with a blanket or large piece of clothing to protect the animal and yourself.

Injured animals may feel threatened so avoid sudden movements. If the animal is deceased, move it to the side of the road, so it does not become a hazard to other motorists.

If you are on a busy road where stopping is restricted, for example a motorway, exit and call the Department of Transport and Main Roads on 13 19 40 to report the animal.

Do not put your life at risk by trying to retrieve the animal from a high-speed, high-traffic volume road.

Seek medical attention for the animal

Contact nearby vets, animal hospitals and wildlife organisations about the accident and state the animal’s condition. You may need to transport the animal for appropriate medical care. If transporting, ensure you have covered its claws and mouth as the animal may panic in transit.

All vets are obligated to help an injured animal under the Veterinary Surgeons Act.

Report the crash

If the animal was seriously injured and potentially needs to be euthanised, you should contact local police. If it’s a domestic pet, you will need to contact the pet’s owner.

Insurance

Queensland’s CTP scheme is an ‘at fault’ scheme, meaning an injured person must prove a driver was negligent in some way which caused the motor vehicle to crash, to trigger access to compensation.

If you are injured in a motor vehicle crash and you can’t blame another driver for your injuries (for example, you hit a kangaroo) the CTP scheme may not apply, leaving you to source your own treatment and support. 

RACQ has launched ReThink CTP, an advocacy initiative to raise awareness of CTP cover in Queensland and ask how our motor injury insurance scheme could be improved to better support people who are injured on Queensland roads.