Rabbits and smaller birds, such as crows, caused the majority of incidents involving animals that those surveyed had experienced.
Almost 13% of motorists have been involved in at least one collision with a pet or animal in the last 5 years, according to research carried out by AA Ireland.
In an AA Motor Insurance Survey of over 9,500 motorists, 10.02% of those surveyed stated they had run over or hit one animal since 2011. Meanwhile, a further 1.63% of drivers had been involved in two such incidents in the same timeframe, with 1% of those surveyed admitting that they had hit three or more animals in the last 5 years.
The survey also found a significant divide between those who drive in rural areas compared to those who do the majority of their driving in urban areas. Compared to the national average of almost 13%, less than 7% of Dublin-based motorists have ever been in a collision with an animal. Meanwhile, Ulster and Munster motorists are most likely to have been involved in an incident with an animal with just over 17% having at least one such collision, with 1 in 5 Waterford based drivers having had a run-in with an animal.
“Uncontrolled animals or pets on the road is an issue which we regularly hear about at AA Roadwatch and while it may seem like a trivial issue at first, animals can certainly be a significant risk to motorists,” said Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs. “Given how unpredictable the actions of an animal which is loose on the roads are, motorists may swerve suddenly in order to avoid hitting the animal. While this may avoid causing any injury to the animal, it puts the motorists themselves and other road users in danger.”
The AA survey also found that most motorists’ commute to and from work is the time when they are most likely to be hit or run over an animal. When asked about the last time they had been involved in such an incident, 21.13% of those surveyed stated that they had hit the animal in question between 06:00 and 09:00, with 19.88% stating the incident occurred between 17:00 and 21:00.
For the majority of drivers surveyed, their most recent run-in with an animal while driving occurred on a secondary or minor road, with less than 5% of incidents occurring on motorways. 38.29% of those surveyed stated that their last incident with an animal occurred on a secondary road (R Classification), while 23.43% of such incidents occurred on minor roads.
“Motorists should remember that if they come across an animal on the road, their first instinct should be to slow down carefully and avoid any sudden swerves so as not to put themselves in unnecessary danger,” Faughnan added. “However, conservation of these animals aside, when driving in rural areas motorists need to be aware of the risk posed by animals as a collision with a larger animal could cause significant damage to you, your car and your pocket.”
Rabbits and smaller birds, such as crows, caused the majority of incidents involving animals that those surveyed had experienced. 21.88% of motorists stated that their most recent run in had been with an animal, while 18.19% admitted to an incident involving a small bird. Unfortunately, family pets also appear quite likely to cause problems for Irish motorists, as 17.35% of those surveyed stated that their last collision involving an animal had been with a dog, while 15.93% had their last such incident with a cat.