Looking-Glass and VeggieGlobal
Animal Highway Code
Not as silly as it sounds. Animals also
need protection from people who do daft things when driving, just
as people do themselves.
And ... this isn't only when travelling inside a car. You need to
consider the safety of your animals if you live near roads - whether
they are busy or not.
Never allow your dog to ride in the front
seat. If you have a hatch-back / estate then fit rear compartment dog
bars so that animals can ride in the back of the vehicle without the
risk of being thrown forward in the event of a front impact. If you
have a standard car, make sure your dog stays on the floor of the back
seating area. Put a rug on the floor to make the animal more comfortable.
In general, you should never leave an animal in a car. If you really
have no choice but to leave a dog in a car then the absolute maximum
period on cloudy days would be 40 minutes - and 15 minutes absolute
maximum on hot sunny days. On hot days always park in the shade whenever
possible. Always leave a window open - around two inches. If possible,
open your sunroof a couple of inches as well. Preferably use a window
grill in the gap to prevent passing children putting their hands through
the window. On hot, sunny days use reflective window shades to cover
all the windows where sunlight shines directly into the car. Leave a
bowl of water on the car floor and something for the dog to chew on
(rather than the upholstery!).
No1 Rule.... KILL YOUR SPEED!!!
Speed statistics based on human road fatalities also apply to animals....
The faster you drive the more likely you are to cause death or injury.
Of course, when you drive through cities, towns and villages you face
the greater possibility of hitting much loved domestic pets.
But on country roads where there are far less people, you also face
the high risk of hitting a wild animal or bird.
The countryside is home to all kinds of wildlife that keep very different
sleeping hours from us humans. If you think that driving at high speeds
on country roads at night is a quite, sleepy time for the animals then
you are very much mistaken!
The hours of darkness can be the busiest time of the day for many animal
species. A lot of animals are nocturnal and spend hours each night foraging
for food. Even in suburban areas, foxes, badgers, hedgehogs, deer -
and other wildlife native to your own part of the world - will often
wander onto road areas at night when they are empty of pedestrians.
Animals are often drawn to roads on cold nights because the surface
retains heat from the daytime sunshine. Many night-flying birds are
attracted or confused by headlights and can easily fly straight into
them. Although fewer at night, cars are driven even faster on empty
roads. Dawn is also the busiest time of the day for animal movement
and you'll often find many birds swooping across roads as the sun rises.
Animals will also be making their way back to their homes.
The combination of migration routes, trips to breeding grounds, warm
roads, blinding headlights and fast driving spells disaster, and means
that thousands of wild animals are killed on roads around the world
each day... and mostly at night.
When driving past horses slow right down
to jogging pace and keep your distance. Do not rev up your vehicle and
never use your horn. you should only overtake a horse when there is
plenty of space to pass horse and rider, leaving a very wide berth.
Don't try overtaking when there is any sign of oncoming traffic. Pass
the horse slowly and with great care.
A Word about Toads
Toads are becoming vary scarce. As more
of their natural wetlands disappear through urban development - and
suitable garden ponds continue to disappear, there are increasingly
fewer places left for them to breed**. Toads are slow moving and have
to travel miles to find ponds to breed and spawn. This means that they
inevitably have to cross roads (slowly) on their long journey. Some
thoughtful toad groups and individuals have put up road signs where
there are known toad populations. Please take notice of them and in
the breeding season (around spring) take special care when driving.
If you see a toad trying to get across the road then stop and pick it
up and help it on its journey. (European toads are totally harmless
and can generally be handled without protection)
Forgotten World of Insects when Driving
Just because some creatures of the world
are tiny doesn't mean they are a less important. All living things are
part of an important thread that weaves the vast tapestry of life on
Moths are a prime example of small creatures which might be considered
the almost invisble victims of "road kill" - and millions
are hit by cars each day. Close up, moths reveal themselves to be an
incredible and beautifully delicate life-form. There are a huge variety
of moth species, but many are now extremely rare and in steep decline,
no thanks to the headlights of cars and trucks. A moth's instinct is
to fly towards light - and full beam headlights are the most deadly
attraction. There is a simple way you can dramatically reduce this carnage.
When you are driving through narrow country lanes full of flying insects
attracted to the lights of your car, first, SLOW DOWN and DIP your headlights
to compensate. You'll notice that far fewer moths will fly into your
lights ... and even though you may never see them up close, you may
well be helping to save rare local species.
Recent research has also shown that the billions of insects killed by
vehicles each year means a vast reduction of the natural food supply
for birds and bats, which would normally eat them.
So ... slowing down on country roads will help reduce "insect impact".
Final Thought on Driving and Animal Life
Fast drivers look fools ... not flash.
You've bought your stylish car with a kicking sound system and cool
interior - so why do you want to single-mindedly rampage around as quickly
as you can from A to B? If you want to enjoy the sumptuous environment
and gadgetry of your vehicle - and in turn respect the welfare of the
animal inhabitants (and people) who live and walk by the roadside -
then slow down and relax into the driving experience. Chill ... drive
at a calm, friendly pace and reserve a thought for the world outside
your cozy cocoon on wheels.
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