“If animals are on the road, you continue driving. Do not hit the brakes.”
A Russian blogger, Valeria Lyubarskaya, with 1.3 million YouTube subscribers and 870,000 Instagram followers has advised people to run over animals on the road, companion or wild animal, if the animal appears in front of them while driving.
The argument is that if there is a car behind it might hit your car and cause an accident. You may be hurt. Therefore it makes sense not to stop if a cat or dog is on the road and you are approaching it.
In her own words she said:
“Dear drivers, remember that if any creature appears on the road while you are driving, especially if there are lots of cars around, just run over it. Do you understand that?
The life of a stray animal is not worth the life of a human being.
The popular blogger recounted a previous incident involving her mum and a stray cat and she concluded by saying:
One last time, remember, if animals are on the road, you continue driving. Do not hit the brakes.
Yes, you may feel sorry afterwards, for sure. But your life is a lot more valuable. A lot more valuable.”
Lyubarskaya provided the advice after her boyfriend made an emergency stop in his car while she was a passenger. A stray dog had wandered out in front of their car.
She said that they were driving along a motorway and suddenly a “stupid dog ran into the road”. She said that her boyfriend “reacted badly and slammed on the brakes. The dog managed to run away unscathed.”
Okay, that is her opinion on how to deal with cats and dogs or any other animal wild or domestic running onto the road in front of your car. You’re meant to run that animal over in order to avoid a potential accident. There’s been a reaction online which is unsurprising. For example, one blogger wrote:
“Dear drivers, remember, if you see Lyubarskaya on the road, run her over. She is not worth the life of a human being.”
Another person agreed with Lyubarskaya because they said that that is what you were taught a driving school. I presume that the person means what you are to taught at driving school in Russia.
What should the advice have been?
So what should you do if an animal runs out in front in your car? The answer must depend upon the circumstances.
If, for example, you have time to look into your rear view mirror and notice that there are no cars behind you then you should stop to let the animal pass. You might be able to swerve around the animal if you are able to check the road ahead and the road behind. The point I’m making is that Lyubarskaya has provided general advice. It is indiscriminate advice and unrefined. It is an absolute advice which says that you run over the animal on every occasion without applying any discretion.
As I said, it depends on the circumstances. If you can stop, stop in the name of decency and behaving humanely. If it is impossible to stop then you can’t and you won’t. If the animal is very large then it is clearly sensible to stop otherwise you might hurt yourself and the animal at the same time.
My distinct impression is that most people will try and avoid an animal on the road. This is because it is instinctive behaviour to behave decently. Notwithstanding that observation, there are people on the road who deliberately drive over cats if, regrettably, there is a cat on the road because they hate cats.
These people should be decried. They are unpleasant people. It’s about decency, common sense and taking a humane view. Her point of view that animals are not as valuable as people is a very commonly held viewpoint. But it cannot form the basis of a decision in this instance because you cannot make a presumption that this is about one life set against another. The question is: Can you avoid the animal?
Further, if you can avoid the animal, you should stop the car at the earliest opportunity and then try and rescue that animal from the road if possible and without endangering your life.