Motorists are urged to watch for wildlife as winter approaches and collisions surge across the nation.

The RAC’s most recent data shows a 19 per cent increase in animal collision claims in April 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, prompting a warning for the upcoming winter months.

RAC spokesman Glen Walker says the darker winter months are worse for wildlife because road conditions become tricker and the days get shorter.

“Hitting an animal is not only distressing and potentially costly but also extremely dangerous, so we’re urging motorists to be extra vigilant, especially as we head closer to winter, which is a particularly risky time,” Mr Walker said.

In WA, Baldivis topped the Hotspots for animal collisions charts in WA, according to Insurance company AAMI 2020 claims data. Nannup, Bussleton, Karratha and Margaret River came in the top five for state-wide hotspots.

Mr Walker says motorists should try to limit driving on country roads during dawn and dusk, when animals, such as kangaroos, are most active.

Kangaroos reportedly made up 88 per cent of animal collision claims in 2023. More than 7,000 collisions with kangaroos occur in Australia annually, and about 15 per cent of vehicles involved are written off, according to The Road Safety Commission’s “Guide to Driving on WA roads” (2023).

“If you spot an animal, slow down, but don’t swerve to avoid it, as this can endanger you and your fellow road users,” he said.

According to the director of Public Policy and Advocacy (APAC) Matt Gijselman, driver awareness, road design, and education are pivotal for improving road safety and wildlife protection.

“In my own experience, I’ve been unlucky enough and sadly have struck native wildlife in my travels, and you know it’s both time of year and time of day… there are plenty of opportunities for us to make a difference, and that comes back to individual awareness, road design and education,” Mr Gijselman said.

“There’s enough technology available now that if we make a decision to make this sort of thing a priority, we can have a meaningful impact.

“So, from my perspective, it’s a question not of whether we can do it, but how we can do it.”

The RSC advises drivers to slow down, sound the horn and avoid swerving – which can lead to loss of control or collisions. For assistance with an injured animal, call the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055