As reported in the press several years ago – and perhaps still the case – the hopping movements of Australia’s kangaroos were delaying the development and introduction of systems to support driverless cars in Australia. Read this Report, but don’t forget to come back to me.
While this may be a perplexing problem for the IT people at Volvo and other car manufacturers, the Kangaroo’s and Wallabies hopping isn’t just an up and down problem. Kangaroos and Wallabies can change direction quickly and often do. (By the way they travel in mobs – “A mob of kangaroos….”.
For an animal that generally spends its days in the Australian heat sitting and resting under a tree, they come alive and very active around sunset and early evening.
One would think that a car’s headlights and noise (tyres and engine) would deter them from coming too close to the roadside.
This is not the case. Kangaroos and Wallabies seemingly take suicidal leaps in front of oncoming cars and often run alongside a car and then seemingly veer in front of it or into the side.
One can feel that they have a sense (perhaps a sixth-sense) for identifying the unique silhouette shape of a kangaroo – but that’s what they want you to think. They come out of the darkness or from behind trees and shrubs at the side of the road to catch the overconfident driver by surprise.
So, what can you do…?
with Ripcurl Knits
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First, avoid driving at dusk and dawn – and perhaps during the day when outback (yeah… not really possible).
Second, if driving at dusk and dawn, slow down and take care.
Third, have your passenger/s keep an ever watchful eye/s out for any hell-bent attacks by crazed kangaroos.
Fourth, you can get one of those electronic or whistling devices that send out a shrill pitch to ward off any kangaroos who choose to take notice of any such noises. I’d say that no one in Australia is absolutely and definitively sure if these work or not – but it doesn’t hurt to put a cheap stick-on whistle on the car.
Finally, consider a bull bar. But, this won’t help if you catch the kangaroo on full hop and it slides over the bonnet and through the windscreen. Now, I bet that that’s got you thinking…
No-one wants to intentionally hurt a kangaroo or wallaby, but these guys can grow really big and the damage to your vehicle and of course to the poor kangaroo or wallaby. Australian roads tell the story of our dead wildlife, because they have been taken out by a truck or vehicle. Hitting a rabbit is awful but taking out a Kangaroo or Wallaby will definitely cause some serious damage to your vehicle and the kangaroo or wallaby.
The two animals look very much the same except for their size. Kangaroos are much larger than Wallabies. Kangaroos grow as tall as 2metres and weight over 90kg. Wallabies weigh at the most around 20kg and only get to a maximum height of 1m Wallabies are part of the Kangaroo clan and as much a part of The Australian landscape as are our Kangaroos.
Anyway, safe travels and enjoy the outback and it’s wildlife at a safe pace – expecting an attack at any time.
The video below was captured on my dash-cam as I was driving through the bush.
And Yes I managed to avoid them this time.
This vlog is a fun take on COVID19 and how we interpret the spread of COVID19 here in Australia.