What To Do If A Kangaroo Hits Your Windscreen

Australia is home to thousands of kangaroos, but these much-loved marsupials are not the most clever road users. People in rural Australia often come across these animals, and drivers hit more kangaroos than any other animal. If the front of your car strikes a kangaroo, your windscreen is likely to bear the brunt of the impact, so it's important to understand what you should do in this situation.

Why cars hit kangaroos

Given that a kangaroo can travel at up to 44 miles per hour, you wouldn't imagine that these animals would ever come close to a car. Nonetheless, drivers across Australia regularly report accidents with kangaroos, often with serious consequences. In 2013, a 6-year-old girl died when a kangaroo smashed through the windscreen and collided with the child on the back seat.

Accidents are most likely to occur from dusk through to dawn. At night, the headlights from your car will probably dazzle a kangaroo by the side of the road. The panicking animal will then often jump right in front of the car. To make matters worse, kangaroos often travel in groups, so your car's arrival may startle and scatter several animals at once.

When an accident is imminent

Some accidents occur so quickly that you just don't have time to react, but some drivers see a kangaroo on the road ahead. If this happens, you should immediately apply the brakes, but try to keep the car in a straight line. If you swerve to avoid the animal, you're more likely to collide with traffic on the other side of the road. Sounding your horn can sometimes make the kangaroo jump in the other direction, too.

The aftermath

If you hit an animal, you should first pull over and stop your car in a safe place. Turn on your hazard lights, so other cars can see you. Check everyone in the car, and call 911 if anyone needs medical attention. If nobody is hurt, tell everyone to stay in the car while you tend to the animal.

In some cases, your car may strike a glancing blow, and the animal may still hop away. If this occurs, there's nothing more you can do. However, if the animal is injured and in distress, you should call a local animal rescue service. If you don't have or can't find the details for one of these services, call the police. Don't try to move an injured kangaroo. A frightened animal can cause serious injury with a single kick.

In some collisions, the kangaroo carcass may end up stuck in the windscreen. This isn't a particularly pleasant outcome, and if this happens, you'll want to get everyone out of the car, but make sure they stand or sit well away from the road. It's sometimes possible to pull a smaller animal out of the windscreen, but you will often need help to deal with this situation.

Assessing the damage

Of course, you'll also need to assess the damage to your car before you can continue your journey. More often than not, a kangaroo collision will cause serious damage to your windscreen. After this type of accident, you will need to call a local mechanic or your breakdown recovery service for assistance.

A badly damaged windscreen means the car is unsafe to drive. The damage is likely to affect the driver's visibility. What's more, the windscreen plays a crucial role in the event of another collision. Up to 47 percent of the car's structural integrity comes from the windscreen. With a damaged windscreen, you and the car's occupants are in serious danger if you have another collision.

What's more, it's illegal to drive a car with a windscreen that has substantial damage. For example, in New South Wales, you can't drive a car with a windscreen that has more than two of the following defects:

  • A hairline crack up to 30mm long
  • A crack from the edge that's longer than 75mm
  • A bullseye crack wider than 16mm in diameter

In most cases, a kangaroo impact will leave damage greater than this. While it's disruptive to your journey, you should contact an auto glass repair service for assistance before you continue.

Kangaroo collisions can cause serious damage to your car and windscreen. If you hit an animal on the road, make sure you call a repair service for help before you continue your journey.