Gympie drivers are being warned to watch out for animals on the road this winter.
Gympie drivers are being warned to watch out for animals on the road this winter. Photo Contributed

ATTENTION: Watch out for animals on Gympie roads this winter

THE RACQ has warned drivers to be "extra vigilant” on the road this winter, after new data revealed collisions with animals had peaked from June to August in the past three years.

Gympie ranked in the top five Wide Bay suburbs for animal-related incident insurance claims from January 2015 to April this year, with 53 claims falling behind only Childers and Nanango (54), Gin Gin (61) and list-topper Bundaberg (95).

Road kill kangaroo with vehicle.   Photo Tanya Easterby / The Gympie Times
Road kill kangaroo with vehicle. Photo Tanya Easterby / The Gympie Times Tanya Easterby

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July, August and June ranked as the top three months for recorded collisions in Queensland between January 2015 and December 2017, with 1173, 1139 and 1064 respective claims made to the state's peak motoring body throughout the data collection period.

The Wide Bay region made 1,413 claims across that time period.

Gympie ranks fourth on this table, which shows insurance claims made by Wide Bay drivers after animal collisions.
Gympie ranks fourth on this table, which shows insurance claims made by Wide Bay drivers after animal collisions. RACQ

Australia Zoo's Terri Irwin invites the Sunshine Coast Daily to the Mourachan Conservation property near St George,Western Queensland to highlight the prime purpose of the Australia Zoo, that is conserving the diversity of the semi-arid ecosystems and associated wildlife living on the property.It is the Irwin family retreat where Bindi and Robert Irwin chill out, this time with  with Ranger Barry Lyon and wife Shelley (Robert's teacher).University of Queensland Phd student Melissa Bruton is also there conducting her sponsored project(Australia Zoo) to monitor and track the endangered Woma python.The dam where Steve and Terri Irwin first camped more than ten years ago. Dead wildlife litter the roads on the way to the property.The Irwins hope to provide safe havens in the area for wildlife so they are not predated upon by feral animals or hit by trucks and cars.. Photo Nicholas Falconer / Sunshine Coast Daily
Gympie ranked in the top five for Wide Bay suburbs making insurance claims after animal-related road incidents. Photo Nicholas Falconer / Sunshine Coast Daily Nicholas Falconer

RACQ spokesperson Kirsty Clinton said more than 10,000 total state-wide claims had been made.

"RACQ has seen a seven percent increase from 2016-2017 in crashes involving animals, and it's raised serious concerns for drivers,” Ms Clinton said.

"Our data shows the cooler months are a peak time for these types of crashes, so as we head into winter we're pleading with motorists to be on high alert.”

Further RACQ research found "more than 30 percent of members surveyed had hit an animal while driving, and most reported the animal jumped or flew in front of the vehicle unexpectedly”.

"If you're driving in an area where animals could be present, slow down and take note of any signage about local wildlife,” she said.

"Avoid driving at dawn and dusk when animals are out foraging.”

"Most importantly, never get behind the wheel unless you're absolutely up to the task of driving. If you're distracted, tired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol your reaction time will be slower than normal.”

Gympie Road Policing Unit Acting Sergeant Chris Watson said motorists should "drive to the conditions” at all times and slow down if unsure of their surroundings.