One of my worst fears is running over an animal. Even if it’s, to quote Monty Python, “Passed on! No More! Ceased to be! Gone to meet its maker!”
This all started when I was in my early twenties rushing on my way to work, (yeah, stupid) when at a high speed I had to go through a flock of birds that had landed in the middle of the road. Normally birds fly away if they hear your car or even know you’re walking towards them. Not this flock. They all stood there like the Jets from West Side Story. I think one even had a switchblade in its beak.
Needless to say, I didn’t have time to put on the breaks as the snapping, dancing, knife fighting birds came towards me. As I saw the birds fly away in my rearview mirror, one was rolling like a tumbleweed on the pavement. Not only did I break its wing, I also broke my own heart that day; needlessly and accidentally killing a living animal at the risk of being late to work.
Since then I’ve been more careful. If I’ve even suspected running over something, I will double back on my path just to check. People who know me, know that I go out of my way to save turtles, frogs and yes, even the occasional house spider; so its not like I deliberately go after something maniacally laughing with my foot on the accelerator.
This is where the carpooling part comes in. If someone is in the car with you on your commute, they can keep an eye out and warn you of said critter and can even confirm if you did indeed run something over needing to be checked on. Not only would it save time, but it would save you gas money helping you to avoid questioning if you possibly left something gruesome behind en route to work.
However, this all doesn’t hold up when an animal deliberately dive bombs into your windshield or your left rear tire.
I observed something like this one day while driving down one of the main streets of Springfield, Missouri. Traffic was paused, it was rush hour at one of the major intersections in town, and what I saw I couldn’t believe. A squirrel jumped off of the curb, bounced off the tire of the car in front of me as it began to take off, did a barrel roll and laid there stiff with all paws up.
I couldn’t tell if it was “no more” but it definitely was getting out of having to collect nuts for the winter. Why else would it have foolishly thrown itself at a large moving object 10 times it’s size? Either way, out of respect for the animal I drove around it.
Had someone been in the car with me at that time, they could have confirmed, “Yes the squirrel jumped at the tire, and yes it was wearing an Evel Kenievel daredevil outfit.” However, there wasn’t; so you just have to accept my word as the truth.
What is your worst fear while driving? What are you afraid you will observe while on the road? What would you do if that “worst thing” happened?