Amazingly, 6% of Drivers Would Swerve to Kill an Animal

Imagine that you are driving down the road and see a turtle on the shoulder … what do you do? Well, if you are Blake Shelton or one of his small-minded ilk, you swerve to crush him (or not as he later denied it), then tweet about it and get abusive to anyone who questions you.

Actually, for most people you would either continue driving or perhaps stop to help the animal get to the side of the road in safety. But for some … it is the opportunity to leave the road to show how superior they are by mercilessly killing a harmless and helpless creature using their multi-ton pickup or SUV.

According to the report:

For his experiment Rober planted rubber snakes, turtles and tarantulas on the shoulder of the road and then observed the actions of 1,000 vehicles, MSN reported. Rober found that 6 percent of drivers are — “cold-blooded rubber-animal killers,” and are willing to put themselves in harms way just to run over an animal on the side of the road.

MSN compared Rober’s findings to a 2008 study that used the Psychopathy Checklist, which discovered that 1.2 percent of the US population were potential psychopaths. listed off a few more of Rober’s findings including:

•6 percent of motorists will swerve to run over an animal.
•If you ignore the tarantula, 2.8 percent swerve to kill.
•Nobody goes out of their way to run over a leaf.
•89 percent of the people who did swerve to kill drove SUVs.

The leaf proved an effective control as it indicated that the road was straight enough and the placement strategic enough that drivers weren’t hitting animals by chance.

Also of interest is the heavy amount of truck/SUV drivers who were responsible for swerving to hit the animals. Given that those categories account for less than 50% of vehicles, and that the test likely occurred in a suburban Southern California location-based on the NASA employment of the scientist, it is fair to estimate (even without seeing the data) that the 89% is a statistically significant ratio.

What does all of this mean? Well, the study is too small and unscientific to be truly significant, but reminds me of the TV show ‘What Would You Do’ in a way – how you behave when you think no one is watching says a great deal about the sort of person you are. In this case, most people were decent and even sensitive enough to help the animals. Others, however, went out of their way to kill a creature – whether because they have issues or an over-inflated sense of self is not clear … but what is clear is that they have issues.

In the comments section of one post about this, someone said:

As a biker I am surprised that the number is only 6%

And … as a runner, I have to agree with that sentiment.

Here is the fun video the author produced:


Categories: Editorials, Outdoors


5 replies

  1. I have to admit that when I first read this, I thought you were saying that only 6% would swerve to AVOID hitting an animal. Sadly, *not* swerving is the only safe way to keep from flipping your car (or to avoid hitting oncoming traffic) when you are are talking about animals in the road at 70 – 75 mph.

    Then I realized what you *were* saying, and even if I am not necessarily surprised, I am bummed. =/

    • Absolutely – there have been times when I have watched a squirrel who seemed safe on the other side of the road suddenly get skittish and run back across, and with cars behind and in the other lane there is little you can do but hope you miss!
      But as you note, there is a huge difference between that and driving out of your lane to try to kill something. As I say, someone who does that has serious issues.

      • Maybe the post title ought to have been ” 6% of Drivers have sociopathic tendencies” Scary and sad.

        • Except that that figure jumps to a much higher figure for SUV drivers. So what does that say about SUV drivers? No matter how you look at it it’s a very sad commentary on the state of things.

          • I’m an SUV driver, and I don’t think that it says anything about SUV drivers other than the fact that in the place where this test occurred, some of the SUV drivers are psychotic jerks. But then, I’ve found that to be true of just about all drivers at one time or another. =P