By Jessica Anstice
Motorists are being encouraged to be vigilant for kangaroos when travelling around Cardinia Shire, particularly during spring.
This time of year marks the start of breeding season and wildlife across the shire is becoming more active.
Kangaroos especially pose a hazard to roads and public transport networks, the Transport Department stated.
Drivers are urged to be aware of an increasing number of kangaroos bounding across roads in outer metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.
Last year, the number of vehicle collisions involving kangaroos peaked in October, and the trend looks set to continue this year due to increased rainfall across the state.
In October last year, there were five reported incidents where a vehicle hit a kangaroo in Cardinia Shire.
Grass at the sides of roads is often fresher due to increased water run-off, making these areas more appealing to wildlife.
Colliding with an animal as large as a kangaroo can not only damage a vehicle but can also cause serious injury to motorists and passengers.
In 2019, 21 percent of collisions on roads involving kangaroos resulted in serious injury to occupants.
At this time of year, motorists need to be on the alert for kangaroos, especially at dusk and dawn.
Kangaroos can be quite unpredictable, and headlights can ‘blind’ animals, confusing them and initiating a reactive fight-or-flight response.
Swerving violently to avoid an animal on the roadway can result in a loss of vehicle control or serious collisions with oncoming traffic.
Any actions taken to avoid hitting wildlife should be done safely, by steering straight and applying the brakes in a controlled manner.
“At this is the time of year we all need to be aware of kangaroos, with extra caution required when driving around dawn and dusk,” Transport Department spokesperson Chris Miller said.
“Kangaroos are unpredictable and can cause serious injuries if struck. Slow down, particularly when you see the yellow animal warning signs on the roadside.”
Public transport systems are also impacted by the increased activity of wildlife.
On the V/Line network, more than 750 animal strikes were reported in the past year and the majority of the trains involved required a deep clean bio-wash.
This process can lead to delays for passengers, trains running with fewer carriages than usual or services being replaced by coaches.
Motorists who encounter injured wildlife should contact Wildlife Victoria on 8400 7300.