Revealed: the most common type of roadkill on Irish roads
More than one in 10 motorists have hit an animal in the last five years
Rabbits are the animals most likely to be hit by motorists, followed by dogs and then cats.
More than one in 10 Irish motorists have admitted to killing or hitting an animal with their car over the last five years with the number jumping to one in five in Waterford, the most deadly county in which to be a loose pet or wild animal roaming free.
According to a survey from AA Ireland, just under 13 per cent of motorists have been involved in at least one collision with an animal or bird since 2011 with rabbits most likely to meet their maker at the hands of a motorist.
The survey of over 9,500 motorists found that just over 21 per cent of those who had hit an animal with their car over the last five years said the unfortunate creature was a rabbit while slightly more than 17 per cent had hit a dog with cats occupying the third position at a little more than 15 per cent.
Under the law anyone who hits and kills a dog must report it to either the owner or the Garda while no such compulsion exists if a cat or rabbit is killed.
The survey found that 10 per cent of those polled said they had run over or hit one animal since 2011 while a further 1.6 per cent of drivers had been involved in two such incidents with 1 per cent admitting that they had hit three or more animals in the last five years.
The survey also found a significant divide between motorists in rural areas compared to those who do the majority of their driving in urban areas.
Compared to the national average of almost 13 per cent, less than 7 per cent of Dublin-based motorists have ever been in a collision with an animal. Ulster and Munster motorists are most likely to have been involved in such an incident with just over 17 per cent having at least one such collision with the number climbing to one in five among Waterford-based drivers.
“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 AA director of consumer affairs Conor Faughnan.
“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 hit or run over an animal while most accidents occurred on secondary or minor roads with.
“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,” Mr Faughnan said.
“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.”