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Keep an eye out for “four legged pedestrians” Keep an eye out for “four legged pedestrians”

Summer driving

Keep an eye out for “four legged pedestrians”

Published 18th July 2011Read Time 7 min

The AA is reminding motorists driving on rural routes this summer to keep an eye out for all creatures great and small having learnt through their latest motor insurance poll that approximately 4 out of 10 drivers in Ireland have run over a pet or other non domesticated animal at some point while driving.
Man’s poor old best friend topped the AA’s Motor Insurance poll as the animal most likely to fall foul of traffic.  After this, cats were identified as the second most common animal to be knocked down by motorists, something which comes as little surprise to AA Patrols who are frequently called to free cats that have trapped themselves under the wheel arches and engine bays of Members’ cars. 
Woodland creatures most prone to venturing onto roadways and into harm’s way would seem to be  rabbits, foxes, badgers and hedgehogs in that order according to the findings of the AA’s Poll.  A third of the drivers who indicated to the AA that they had accidentally run over an animal said it was a rabbit they struck.
Larger animals
Worryingly the AA reports that it’s not just small animals that motorists are hitting in this country.
127 of those polled during the AA Motor Insurance survey indicated they had struck a sheep, 118 a deer, 83 a cow, 34 a horse and 15 a donkey.
“It’s not only conservation that motorists need to worry about when it comes to keeping their eyes peeled for animals when driving in rural settings or known animal habitats.”  Says John Farrell, Director of AA Insurance.  “A collision with a larger animal such as a horse or deer, particularly when travelling at higher speeds can lead to a huge amount of damage, serious injury and even fatalities.  One AA Member, while unhurt, reported doing over €4,000 worth of damage to their car having struck a deer in Phoenix Park.  Another said they faced €600 worth of repairs having sadly hit a badger.”
The AA’s advice to motorists is to slow down and proceed with caution if they see live stock or otherlarge animals on or near the road.  They also encourage drivers to be extra vigilant where animal crossing signs are in place and to avoid throwing food, likely to entice animals, out of their car windows.  
Unsurprisingly Dublin residents were least likely to have struck an animal while driving, significantly trailing other counties.  The highest number of incidents per capita were recorded in counties Leitrim, Offaly and Longford.
Motorists wishing to share their experiences on the topic are invited to post their comments on the AA blog at 
Notes to the editor;
Fig. 1 Whether or not the motorists surveyed have ever run over a pet or animal while driving (Based on 13,243 responses)

Yes 41.3%
No 58.8%

Fig. 2 Of those that answered yes to the above, what animal they ran over (Based on 4,894 responses)

A dog 45.5%
A cat 36.4%
A rabbit 33.4%
A fox 10.3%
A badger 10.1%
A hedgehog 7.9%
A squirrel 2.9%
A sheep 2.6%
A deer 2.4%
A cow 1.7%
A duck 1.3%
A squirrel 1.3%
A snake 1.2%
A horse 0.7%
A donkey 0.3%

Fig. 3 County by county split of motorists who have run over a pet or animal (Based on 13,243 responses)

  Yes No
Carlow (122) 54.8% 45.2%
Cavan (138) 51.4% 48.6%
Clare (271) 49.6% 50.4%
Cork (1,443) 46.1% 54.0%
Donegal (202) 49.8% 50.7%
Dublin (4,628) 30.5% 69.6%
Galway (604) 47.4% 52.6%
Kerry (219) 52.9% 47.1%
Kildare (827) 43.1% 57.0%
Kilkenny (167) 51.2% 48.8%
Laois (166) 50.6% 49.4%
Leitrim (53) 57.1% 42.9%
Limerick (460) 43.7% 56.8%
Longford (92) 55.3% 44.7%
Louth (246) 44.0% 56.4%
Mayo (248) 42.9% 57.1%
Meath (552) 50.3% 49.7%
Monaghan (70) 54.9% 45.1%
Offaly (123) 55.5% 44.5%
Roscommon (120) 45.0% 55.8%
Sligo (150) 50.0% 50.0%
Tipperary (285) 50.3% 49.7%
Waterford (295) 50.7% 49.3%
Westmeath (203) 54.1% 45.9%