A Wild Journey - Protecting Yourself and Wildlife on Australian Roads
A journey across Australia in your rental car is truly a sight to behold – from pristine beaches, to mountain ranges, to sprawling desert country, to wildlife spotting – a never-to-be-forgotten experience. However, to make any car journey great, it’s essential to understand road rules and wildlife rules. At RaD Car Hire Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Brisbane, the protection of our customers and Australian animals is important to us, so here we share a few wildlife safety tips to take onboard when driving your rental car Down Under.
Look out for wildlife warnings
Not all major animal and vehicle collisions happen in the country. In Australia, many wildlife species will use wildlife corridors to move around in search of food, shelter and supplies. These pathways cross many areas of landscape, including cities, which are frequented more regularly by animals during drought spells in search of water.
Therefore, it is important to stay alert in your hire car and look out for sign posts specifically detailing highly populated animal areas. These signs may simply have a single picture of an animal – for example, a kangaroo – but there may be other species in the area too.
In Australia, be on the lookout for common wildlife species such as kangaroo, emus, eagles, wallabies and echidnas. If you take your rental ride through the outback, be aware of wandering cattle, camels and wild horses – especially at night. As the road can hold warmth in the evenings and the night air is much cooler in the outback, it is not uncommon for animals – cattle particularly – to move onto the road for added comfort.
Travel timing, pace and upping the beam
To ensure greater safety – for car rental drivers, passengers and wildlife – aim to avoid driving at dawn, dusk and early evening when animals move around more.
Slowing down your driving pace in your rental in poor visibility areas is a win-win for yourself and wildlife. Australian bushland can be dense and thick right up to the roadside in places, making it difficult to distinguish shapes and figures in places and at certain times of the day. Reducing speed where visibility is hampered, minimises your chance of animal collision and possible injury to yourselves, the animal and the vehicle.
Using your high beams when driving better lights the sides of the road and further ahead – spotlighting any potential hazards. Should you spot an animal ahead, dip your lights, slow down and sound your horn to give the animal a chance to move off.
What to do when approaching injured animals or roadkill
Not all rental car and wildlife encounters can be avoided – roadkill is a common sight on many a road. Taking measures to prevent further accidents in and around roadkill is essential. For example, if you come across an eagle or dingo feeding on a dead carcass in the middle of the road, sound your horn as early as possible, so they can register your moving vehicle and move off the road.
If you come across an injured animal, search out signs close by in the area that detail contact numbers for injured wildlife support. Alternatively, take a photo of any signs you pass with these helpful details, in case you need them further down the track.