Squirrel blamed by Canadian drivers following too closely

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I was behind a driver only yesterday who came to a complete stop to let a squirrel pass. On a public road. I swear I wanted to ram them so bad.

I do that all the time. Wouldn’t do it on a highway, but my neighborhood is full of “public” roads, and easing to a stop, letting the animal get out of the way seems pretty normal to me. I wouldn’t do it on a busy busy highway where it would present a danger, or slam on the brakes if it would present a real danger of a a crash, but on any kind of moderate-speed residential street where squirrels are likely to dart in and out from trees, sure I would ease to a stop if the alternative was running it over, and if that presented a danger to anyone behind me, they’re following too closely or in too damn much of a hurry.


I say smush the little bastards. My convenience is ten times more important than their rodent lives.

But they are cute and you are not. :stuck_out_tongue:


You haven’t seen me in my Totoro kigurumi, hah!

EDIT: Tried adding a photo but literally every possible photo in the entire internet features an adorable tiny Asian woman, which I am not. Why don’t they ever use middle-aged men? Sexism! Or reverse sexism or something!

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A very similar thing happened to my wife and me the day before yesterday, only the potential victim was a clueless young puppy rather than a squirrel. An inattentive seventeen-year-old in a pickup truck slammed into us from behind without even attempting to slow down, as far as I could tell (appearances in the rear-view-mirror can be deceiving, of course). I’m sure the kids who let the puppy roam on a public road are glad it’s not dead, but it would have been a lot better for us if they’d taken better care.

There is no question in my mind that the person who rear-ended us could have prevented the accident simply by paying attention, but that is after all how accidents happen. He wasn’t following too close–he just didn’t realize we had slowed way down and hence didn’t hit his brakes. I am glad he learned this lesson without anyone being badly hurt, but it would be nice if there were some way for kids to learn stuff like this without metal being bent and ambulances being called. Adults driving trucks ought to already know better.


I’m glad you were driving carefully enough to avoid the dog. One of my awful childhood experiences was seeing our dog charge through my dad’s legs as he got the mail and run into the street after a squirrel. Our dog was hit, but did recover. Worse was when my mother hit an older neighborhood dog, very sweet and well behaved, who bolted for no reason anyone could figure out. That dog didn’t make it. In both cases, the dog owners, us and our neighbor, made mistakes, but careful driving could have prevented both accidents. My gratitude to people who take care.


Of course, sometimes even the most careful driver can’t do anything to prevent running over an animal that darts out in front of them with no warning.

In the case of the OP… What exactly were the drivers following too closely blaming the squirrel for? I would think that the person at the front of the chain reaction crash is more the person doing the blaming.

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via Imgflip Meme Maker

I don’t understand breaking for a squirrel. Many animals do not move quickly enough or are ignorant enough of roads that caution is appropriate, but squirrels are fast, can change direction in a heartbeat, and are well aware of humans, cars, etc. Slow down a little, sure, but coming to a complete stop for a squirrel doesn’t make sense.

But as always, no matter the reason for the first car stopping, any car that piles into it as a result is at fault. They shouldn’t have been driving in such a way that they couldn’t stop in time. Them’s the rules.

Fun fact: until red light cameras, one aspect of driving in Chicago was that if you were coming up on a yellow light you had to check your rear-view mirror before stopping because the three cars behind you would expect you to keep going so they could too. I suspect most drivers haven’t developed that same instinct to check behind before stopping.


Would this do the job?

…and you’d look better as an Asian woman anyway… :stuck_out_tongue:

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Indeed - when learning to drive in the UK I was always taught that almost without exception a rear-ender is the fault of the following vehicle.

There should always be enough distance at the respective speed to be able to perform a full emergency stop should the vehicle in front be forced to do the same.

I’ve always thought of “the squirrel” response as a nice semi-comedic excuse that I could use should I ever be daring enough to slam the brakes hard on someone who was following me that closely (something I’d never, ever do in reality, but we all fantasise a little…).

“Sorry mate, you were following too close I guess. I saw a squirrel, what could I do? snark”


I oppose the death penalty except for tailgaters. Would this happen if the other drivers were following at a safe distance? Rule of thumb is you’re supposed to be leave one vehicle length between you and the vehicle ahead of you for every ten mph you’re going.

The article says, “RCMP say that braking on highways where speeds can be up to
110 kilometres an hour is dangerous and may cause serious collisions.”

Does “braking” mean something slightly different in Canada, implying braking hard or suddenly or coming to a full stop? In my neck of the woods, it can mean any amount of pressure you’d put on the brakes, so I parse that sentence as meaning cars should not have brakes. If you’re not coasting to a stop, you’re being dangerous and you may cause serious collisions.


I often wonder if requiring simulator training for novice drivers, as is done for airplane pilots, would help–especially for unusual situations.


it is not just in the UK, but everywhere. The person in back should not follow that closely they cannot stop in time.
Would the drivers be mad if the person at the front braked for a small child instead of a squirrel. However, the driver in the front should be aware that breaking or swerving for a small animal could be dangerous - as I know of someone who tried to avoid a rabbit running across the road and ended up killing their passenger in the crash.

Uh oh, wait till the member who’s a cab driver comes in and tells you how important it is for him to tailgate, because if he doesn’t then he will lose his job, or some nonsense. :wink:

Since it’s not a direct quote, one presumes what the RCMP actually said was “slamming on the brakes like this person did” is dangerous, and the Canadian Press blurb writer was being lazy and left that part out (understandable for a relative non-story)

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Yeah, usually slowing down is all that’s needed, but the thing with squirrels is the idiots sometimes dart in front of your car, get almost to the other side, and then decide to go the freaking other way in some kind of suicidal rodent panic. I’ve even had them zig-zag in front of the car a few times, and seen slowed-down cars still overtake them in their squirrel-y indecision. So I’ve definitely had occasions in squirrel-filled neighborhoods where I just stop a few seconds to let them sort it out.

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I stand corrected.

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Ph34r my black-belt google-fu! :stuck_out_tongue: