Animal-vehicle collisions on Australian roads increased 15 percent during the last year, according to NRMA Insurance, and with winter upon the country and, consequently, less sunlight per day, fleet drivers need to be on the lookout for two- and four-legged animals, advised Australian fleet management company, Smartfleet.

According to Smartfleet, animal collisions remain a problem year-round in Australia, with the warmer summer months seeing increased animal activity as they forage for food. Kangaroos were the most commonly hit animals, followed by dogs and wombats. Farm animals such as cattle also had a high risk of collision.

According to the NRMA, the areas in NSW responsible for the most collisions were Dubbo, Mudgee, and Goulburn.

Animal collisions can pose a huge threat both to vehicles and their drivers, and is a threat that every fleet manager should take seriously, according to Smartfleet. Aside from the costs that results from these collisions - insurance claims totalled approximately AUS$15m in 2006, according to AAMI - the safety of drivers is at risk, due to factors such as smashed windscreens.

Educating drivers on creating a safe driving environment is critical to reducing these incidents, suggests NRMA Insurance spokesperson Mariana Cidade. "We encourage motorists to slow down when driving at sunrise and sunset as this is when kangaroos are most active and looking for food," she said.

Proper fleet maintenance can also play a role in avoiding animal-vehicles collisions, according to AAMI. Car brakes should always work properly so drivers can react quickly to an animal on the road.

Sounding the horn can also be an effective way to make sure animals keep away from the path of the vehicle, so it's important to keep these in good working condition as well.