While most drivers spent time at home last year and rarely went out on the roads, car accidents seem to be up exponentially this year. In this instance, a silly squirrel ran out into the street and caused a car accident involving an Audi Q7. Was this a case of distracted driving, or was the squirrel looking to cause a little chaos?
In the early morning, an unidenfitied squirrel caused a car accident
While the squirrel might be sort of at fault here, what happened here? According to the Hingham Police Department in Hingham, Maryland, the driver drove off the road early in a single-vehicle car accident. The young driver said the squirrel ran out into the road, and to avoid hitting it, the vehicle went off the right side of the road. Half of the 2014 Audi Q7 ended up inside the house.
Unfortunately, the house wasn’t just any house. This house happened to be built by the ancestor of President Abraham Lincoln. The Samuel Lincoln Cottage was constructed in 1650. Samuel Lincoln is Abraham Lincoln’s great-grandfather. It wasn’t clear if any of President Lincoln’s descendants knew the squirrel.
More details about the car accident
The Audi Q7 was traveling east on North Street when the squirrel ran into the road. The driver and the vehicle went off the right side of the road, drove over the sidewalk and into the front of the house. The driver was uninjured in the car accident and managed to get out of the car to wait for help. Hingham Fire Department and the Hingham Building Inspector both responded to the call.
A police officer issued the 19-year-old woman a traffic citation for failing to remain in the marked lanes. This is a relatively minor violation. The actual statute is below.
“Drivers must operate entirely within a single lane, which means that drivers must maintain their lanes and avoid drifting or swerving into an adjoining lane or the shoulder. Second, drivers must not move from their respective travel lanes without first ascertaining whether it is safe to do so.”Massachusets Government
Police officers do not always issue citations after car accidents. However, it seems the responding officers felt the car accident was worthy of a ticket. In the photos above, you can see that the car was heavily damaged in the accident. The area is residential and nearby signs indicate a speed of 30 mph.
The NHTSA says risky driving behaviors are up
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a study showing that even though fewer cars were on the road during the pandemic, traffic fatalities increased. The NHTSA noted that though Americans drove less during 2020, traffic fatalities were the highest since 2007. Since 2019, fatalities were up 7.2%, bringing the number to 38,680 people that died on the roads during 2020.
Data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows that the miles Americans drove were down about 13.2%, a decrease of 430.1 billion miles. The traffic rate for fatalities in 2020 was up to 1.37 deaths per 100 million, up from 1.11 in 2019. “NHTSA’s analysis shows that the main behaviors that drove this increase include: impaired driving, speeding, and failure to wear a seat belt.”
The moral of this dodgy squirrel story? Buckle your seatbelt, abide by posted speed limits, and watch out for small, fluffy-tailed animals crossing the road to avoid car accidents. Also, don’t crash into Abraham Lincoln’s home. That has to bring on bad vibes.