proD­UCts the lat­est gear

Camper Trailer Australia - - CONTENTS - – Scott Heiman Sonic An­i­mal Guards Rrp: $6-8 a pair Where: Most ser­vice sta­tions more info: www.haigh.com.au rat­ing:

Ap­par­ently Swedish car gi­ant Volvo is de­vel­op­ing Aus­tralia’s first kan­ga­roo de­tec­tion and col­li­sion avoid­ance soft­ware

(SMH, 29 Oct 2015). It’s not sur­pris­ing that some­one is look­ing for a so­lu­tion to the prob­lem of kamikaze kan­ga­roos on our roads. Af­ter all, the NRMA tells us that there are more than 20,000 kan­ga­roo strikes in Aus­tralia per an­num cost­ing around $75 mil­lion in in­sur­ance claims.

Some of these un­for­tu­nate strikes are no doubt at­trib­ut­able to driver inat­ten­tion. But even with the keen­est eyes, and a good set of spot­ties, it can be hard to avoid kan­ga­roos along some of this na­tion’s high­ways and by­ways.

Which is why we’ve had Sonic An­i­mal Guards (pic­tured be­low) stuck to our HiLux and my wife’s daily com­muter for the last 10 years. You’ve prob­a­bly seen these de­vices in your lo­cal auto shop or ser­vice sta­tion. They come as a pair in an unas­sum­ing blis­ter pack and are man­u­fac­tured for Haigh Aus­tralia. They’ll cost you around $6-8 a pair. They don’t need bat­ter­ies or elec­tric­ity as they op­er­ate like a sports whis­tle, with air flow­ing through the de­vice and emit­ting a high pitched noise that’s not au­di­ble to hu­man ears but can ap­par­ently be heard by kan­ga­roos and other kerb­side furry dwellers.

OUR TEST

There’s a lot of de­bate about the ef­fi­cacy of these sonic de­vices. A quick web search in­di­cates that peo­ple write re­search pa­pers on whether they do or don’t af­fect an­i­mal be­hav­iour – and, if so, to what sort of dis­tance they might be ef­fec­tive and in what con­di­tions.

But we’ve got to say, and we’ve done our fair share of ur­ban and ru­ral driv­ing, that since fit­ting these lit­tle cones to the bull­bar and roof rack we’re yet to hit an an­i­mal. The mis­sus just spent three years com­mut­ing to an of­fice in a ru­ral lo­ca­tion where many of her work col­leagues were av­er­ag­ing one or more an­i­mal strikes and near-misses ev­ery quar­ter. She es­caped un­scathed, which makes her ei­ther a very good driver, or in­di­cates that the sonic de­vices on her ve­hi­cle were do­ing their job. In­deed, the day af­ter I fit­ted Sonic An­i­mal Guards to the HiLux I saw roos on the na­ture re­serve that ad­joins my own daily drive turn their heads and take eva­sive ac­tion as I ap­proached. The same hap­pens to this day, while my neigh­bour con­tin­ues to bounce ’roos off his bon­net ev­ery three months or so.

It’s al­ways hard to gauge the ef­fi­cacy of pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures. But for $6-8 a pair, you don’t need to think very deeply about buy­ing Sonic An­i­mal Guards. In­deed, they seem to work bet­ter in mul­ti­ples.

Un­til Volvo comes up with the ul­ti­mate soft­ware so­lu­tion, we’ll stick with this ‘old school’ sonic de­ter­rent op­tion and see how long I can main­tain my zero-strike record.

Our ver­dict is that the Guards are value for money and peace of mind

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