Drought drives animals into motorists' path
DRY conditions have driven hungry wildlife closer to Darling Downs roads, prompting a warning to country motorists.
The resulting collisions between machines and animals are keeping Toowoomba panel beaters busy.
Ryan's Smash Repairs owner John Schriek said animal strikes could result in thousands of dollars in damage bills.
"When there is no rain, you do get more animal strikes," Mr Schriek said.
He said the majority of damage was done by kangaroos or wallabies.
"If you get a major hit with a big roo it (damage bill) can run into several thousands."
Col Wilkie Body Works owner Steve Wilkie said most animal strikes were on the front of vehicles.
"There are plenty of kangaroo and wild animal accidents out there and they seem to be getting closer to town," Mr Wilkie said.
RACQ insurance communications executive manager Mike Sopinski said the number of collisions with cattle, kangaroos and other wildlife had risen as drought gripped much of Queensland.
"Cattle and wildlife often behave unpredictably around traffic and the result is a big increase in the number of crashes," Mr Sopinski said.
"While rain is forecast in parts of regional and rural Queensland this weekend, we urge motorists to remain vigilant when driving at sunrise and sunset as we are seeing more animals searching for food and water in these drought conditions."
He said animal strike claims cost an average of $3,366.
"Irrespective of the circumstances of the collision, legislation exists in Queensland that effectively prevents recovery of any costs from the livestock owner," Mr Sopinski said.
Meanwhile, police have urged drivers to avoid the roads at dawn and dusk, where possible.
"If you are required to regularly drive at these times, consider investing in a bullbar," a police spokesman said.
He also recommended drivers avoid swerving to miss kangaroos or small animals.
"The results of swerving may be loss of control of your vehicle and crashing into a less forgiving object like a tree or rock.
"A kangaroo is a lot softer than a tree and a lot less likely to result in serious injury.
"A car can always be repaired or replaced.
"Flesh and bones are harder to mend."