Watch the road

Watch the road

Rachel Jackson, Staff Reporter

Recently one Sunday, my family and I all piled into my father’s tiny 2009 Nissan Maxima in order to fulfill my mother’s wish that we attend church as a family. Five minutes late and speeding down Old Stacy, my father is determined to let nothing prevent us from getting to church, or at least I assume so until he randomly slams on his brakes. Dazed and a little confused, my mother demands to know why we are stopping in the middle of the road. My father replies by gesturing to the cute little turtle crossing the road and as if that was all the explanation she needed, my mom gets out of the car and safely places the turtle on the patch of grass to our right so that it’s out of harm’s way.

This little adventure was an eye opener for me. As bizarre as that sounds, I don’t think we realize how many animals we kill on the roads. On my way to school I see at least three animals splattered against the pavement and honestly, it used to not effect me because this was the case for many places I visited. On a usual day I witness a dead squirrel outside my neighborhood, a flat skunk somewhere along the backroads, and a rabbit squished against a curb. It’s honestly heartbreaking.

That’s why I think we need to be more aware of the little critters we share the road with. They may not be the brightest and run literally in front of cars every now and then but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t attempt to save their lives.

The first time I killed animal it was a humid day in August. I had just gotten my license less than a week ago and I felt like I was on top of the world. Windows down, hair caught in the wind and only the open road in front of me. Suddenly a squirrel pops out of nowhere and I’m faced with a quick decision to either dodge the squirrel and swerve into the other lane, unsafe for other drivers, or run over the defenseless creature. Needless to say, in the heat of the moment, I chose the second option. And do I regret it to this day? Yes.

Every year motorists kill nearly 400 million animals. In fact, one of our more common roadkill creatures are deer. More than than 350,000 deer fatally collide with vehicles yearly, this is believed to happen due to the overpopulation in the larger mammal.

Needless to say, something needs to change. It’s time to fight for the little guy because if we don’t soon, then there might not be one anymore.