Convertible cars attract tremendous amounts of attention. Much of the time, it’s the sort of attention their owners encourage, but occasionally droptops can bring about interest from the wrong kind of visitor, as one motorist recently found to her cost.
Earlier this year, a falling squirrel (one with exquisite taste in cars, no doubt) landed in a convertible, terrifying the driver, who lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree. It would have been funny to the insurance company (it’s frickin’ hilarious to us) if the cost of the claim wasn’t a cool £5,500.
The hapless convertible driver is by no means the only victim of vehicle-related mammalian mashups. Between October and November, the AA had to deal with 112 “animal strike” cases. 30 claims involved deer, another 11 involved dogs, three involved badgers and five involved foxes that weren’t particularly cunning.
Of all animals, it would appear deer is the most likely to cause trouble. An AA spokesman explained: “Deer are by far the biggest culprit and this time of the year is the rutting season. Also deer tend to move at dusk or very early in the morning and, during the winter, this puts their movements right in the time when people are commuting.”
450 people are injured in road accidents involving deer every year, with 40,000 animals killed in the process. These road kill incidents, it has been estimated, cost the UK’s economy £24 million a year.
While keeping Bambi and company at bay may seem like a difficult task, there is one invention that could reduce the number of animal collisions. Known as DeerDeter, the system uses light sensitive pods that emit the light and sounds deer associate with a predator to prevent the animal from crossing the road until you have driven past.
417 units have been installed in Essex, and while specific numbers have yet to be released, they appear to be having a positive effect on safety.