Hooniverse Asks: What's the Worst Thing You've Ever Run Over?

I’ve been fortunate in my driving career in that I’ve never run over anything too terrible. The worst was a pigeon that I didn’t actually mow down, but that was brained by the nose of my car. Sorry bird.
I have rolled over a lot of spun-off retreads in my day, the discarded remnants of truck tires colloquially referred to as “gators.” Those are no fun to hit, but are far better than something like a ladder, or the caster off of  a dumpster, both of which I’ve had to dodge on the road.
Running over anything is a cringe-worthy experience, and sometimes it can really ruin your day should the object be a cute-as-a-bug animal or something large enough to do damage to your ride. With that in mind, let us know: what is the worst thing you’ve ever run over?
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64 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What's the Worst Thing You've Ever Run Over?”

  1. Sjalabais Avatar

    Nothing notable in my own driving, but my wife once ran over a squirrel, after a full brake* and trying to evade it. Every time we pass the spot that accident resurfaces.
    *to avoid car-on-car-accidents because following and oncoming traffic often don’t see them, the rule of thumb normally is: “Don’t brake for animals smaller than a deer”. Very hard to practice though.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Likewise swerving to avoid animals is often a bad idea. I did a tour of Holden’s proving ground and that has been the source of their worst crashes. A local driver nearly went off the side of a bridge trying to avoid a dog.
      But I did see a semi ahead of me swerve hard enough to avoid a family of ducks on top of a hill that I could read the sign on its side, a very impressive bit of driving presumably because there was no oncoming traffic.

    2. Cool_Cadillac_Cat Avatar

      Long-distance motorcycle rider 101.
      If you can eat it in one sitting, hit it, don’t put yourself in danger to avoid it.

    3. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
      dead_elvis, inc.

      “Don’t brake for animals smaller than a deer”
      Practicing this inadvertently (I was more interested in self-preservation vs the truck to my immediate right and the guy behind me), I ran over a large racoon with a very, very rusty ’73 VW Squareback many years ago. The carcass thumping against the bottom of the car was unforgettable.
      The time I drove through a flock of crows feeding on roadkill, only to smell something like chicken a bit later, was preferable.

  2. Kiefmo Avatar

    Somebody’s cat. I couldn’t stop fast enough, and I couldn’t swerve due to street parked cars and oncoming traffic. I couldn’t even stop and tend to it because of traffic and a lack of available parking.
    Sorry buddy. I know you had 9 lives, and I think the Explorer took all of them at once.
    And now I’m sad. Thanks a lot.

  3. GTXcellent Avatar

    We have lots of wildlife – and wild animals do not have very good survival skills against vehicles. A lot of times it’s unavoidable. Worst was my ’97 Dodge pulling a loaded car trailer (fyi the car on the trailer was an ’87 Park Avenue) and a herd of at least a dozen deer came bounding out of the ditch – I almost got stopped in time, but the very last fawn hit right dead square in the center. Completely smashed the front end, but thankfully didn’t push the radiator in so I could make it home.
    MiSSus GTXcellent wasn’t so lucky in her car vs deer encounter. She was driving home from college, still about 3 hours away, and smoked a trophy 12 pt buck – she hoped to keep the rack, but most of the tines were broke. Her S-10 was beyond destroyed. Thankfully she wasn’t hurt, but her father had to make a 300 mile roundtrip recovery effort at midnight.

  4. CopterBob Avatar

    During a vacation drive that took us east across South Dakota on I-90, a small bird flew crossed our path (we were doing 80-ish mph) and was gruesomely bisected by the hood scoop on on our 2001 Celica. Half the bird entered the scoop opening and engine compartment, the other half splattered up the windshield. What followed was an hour of the most hideous cleanup job I’ve ever experienced. The only plus side was that there was a car wash right off the next exit ramp.

  5. for_SCIENCE Avatar

    Nailed a nice buck at 60 MPH on the way in to work one November morning, totaling my previous car. The deer lived long enough to run off to who knows where, so no venison and rack to make up for it.

  6. njhoon Avatar

    The ‘worst’ thing I’ve hit was a goose, a Canadian goose. That fat bastard must have weighed 40 lbs but it exploded when I hit it on the NJ turnpike. The blood, guts and an unbelievable amount of feathers on my car was not only disgusting but took several washes to get off. The moment of impact was like a pillow exploded. Blood, entrails, and goose poop covered in the softest goose down and feathers… were all over my bumper, front end, hood, windshield. Even a State trooper who stopped to check/help just said “Holy Jeese…” Through all of that I only broke a fog light and a headlight.

    1. Alff Avatar

      Thank you for your service. I hope this event doesn’t discourage you from continuing to do your part in addressing the public nuisance that is the Canada Goose.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        A friend of mine was goose hunting in a kayak. Shot one to his right, the kayak went round. The salt water was heavy on his beautiful weapon, it produced a great dinner though.

        1. Alff Avatar

          A Møøse once bit my sister…

    2. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
      dead_elvis, inc.

      One down*, a bajillion to go.
      *come at me bro

  7. Ross Ballot Avatar
    Ross Ballot

    A beach chair was once left just behind the front right tire of my Avalanche. When I went to back up the next morning it was a big surprise to hear one hell of a crunch as the truck rose about 6″…so much for the chair

  8. 0A5599 Avatar

    About an hour past Roswell, a Bigfoot was right at the edge of the road. I didn’t hit it, but a few minutes later, the car’s electrical system died, and I ended up hitting a bridge’s guard rail while trying to pull off the road in total darkness.

    1. Lokki Avatar

      After that experience, I’d have needed a few drinks myself. Did the officer believe you?

  9. ptschett Avatar

    What did the most damage: deer. One basically ran into the side of my ’05 Dakota; another zigged when I expected it to zag and took out the headlight on my ’96 Thunderbird.
    What I felt the worst about: cats. Sometimes the feral kittens at the farm will climb into the ‘safety’ of the empty spaces in the radiator area of a car to avoid a human, then realize their mistake when the car is at highway speed.
    Somewhat on topic… the inevitable result of having a Roomba, a small child, and a puppy in the same house: http://vaviper.blogspot.com/2016/08/when-roomba-runs-over-dog-poop.html

    1. GTXcellent Avatar

      Ugh, cats – and a car without a fan shroud. Thanks for that unpleasant reminder. Now I haz a sad.

      1. for_SCIENCE Avatar

        Sounds like an incident that happened with my dad and a social stray when I was little. It turns out nice warm engine bays after a car has been shut off are attractive lairs for lazy tomcats on a cool October morning.
        Relatedly, the startling event of an engine start coupled with an unwanted shave courtesy of the radiator fan motivates the cat to make good his departure amid vocal protest and a cloud of fur.
        To the unsuspecting driver, it appears a banshee attempted to set up a barbershop under the hood. The cat absconded, never to haunt engine bays again.

        1. ptschett Avatar

          One of the semi-feral outside farm cats, a people-friendly but unaltered light-orange tom, was named Buffer. Then his tail crossed paths with probably the fan or the accessory belt in my dad’s pickup. For the rest of the time that cat was around his full name was “Buffer I’m sorry about your tail”. He got along for quite a while with a 3″ stub, and it never seemed to bother him after it healed.

          1. Sean McMillan Avatar
            Sean McMillan

            One of my childhood cats lost most of his tail that way. Had to amputate the rest after it got infected. On a more positive note, we adopted one of our current cats (a feral kitten at the time) after a little girl saw her climb up under the engine of a truck in the parking lot at my wife’s work. She’s been with us 13 years now.

          2. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
            dead_elvis, inc.

            Buffer is a great name for a cat, and orange cats usually have personality to spare. How’d he get the name?
            I’d have told people I have a custom Manx bobber.

    1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

      … and what did you do after you hit them?

      1. The Real Number_Six Avatar
        The Real Number_Six

        …to the nearest car wash…

        1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

          Hopefully, the nearest car wash wasn’t so far away.

          1. The Real Number_Six Avatar
            The Real Number_Six

            Luckily. There’s no way I could afford enough oil to keep the ’79 Mustang 2.3 running all night and day.

    2. crank_case Avatar

      So THATS how he got that hairstyle..

    3. Alff Avatar

      Three of these guys are bald today.

  10. Hubba Avatar

    Construction site dumped rubble on the road. Ripped out transmission.

  11. Batshitbox Avatar

    Cat. I actually never saw the cat, it was night and for absolutely zero reason I looked out my driver’s side window, at nothing. Whump! I looked ant my girlfriend and asked, “What was that?” “A cat.” (Really? On the Taconic State Parkway?)
    There ensued a long conversation about what kind of feelings I had about running over a cat. Girlf was a Psych major. Really, I never saw the cat, so it was hard to empathize with, and I couldn’t feel guilty about running over something I never saw, and probably couldn’t have avoided anyway. The cat died pretty quick, I hoped, and was likely a stray way out there, so I hoped no one missed it. I came across as a bit insensitive.
    Funny she never asked me about all the bugs I accidentally stepped on every day, just the cat.

  12. Eric Masek Avatar
    Eric Masek

    A skunk in the dark on a non lit street. Thankfully it didn’t die and sprayed it’s goodness after it came out the back but the car still smelled for a while.
    A piece of 4×4 on a motorcycle that was narrow enough to fit between a car’s track but wide enough to be unavoidable when following a car in traffic at speed. No injuries, only scratches to the bike lower fairings

    1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
      dead_elvis, inc.

      “A piece of 4×4”
      Following a Rover?

  13. 0A5599 Avatar

    The yellow in the lede picture reminds me of the time I ran a near-campus errand before school one morning. While I was inside, a road striping crew painted the street of the only parking lot exit. I waited a few minutes for everything to dry, but still got yellow paint on my car.

    1. cap'n fast Avatar
      cap’n fast

      wet paint stripes are definite burn out opportunities for me. it is going to get on the car no matter what so i have fun with it.
      ran over a string bean field at 90ish in a new T/A in ’79.picked beans out of it for years. white car and was green from grill to rear wheel wells. i considered missing the farm truck parked in the tree shade the primary survival mission at the moment. a lot of bushels of beans went over the car hood. lucky i didn’t hit the water well head. moral: do not drive quickly on farm roads during harvest season. field looked like a combine went nuts.

  14. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    I backed over a gallon can of chloro-penta-phenol once. Dug up and filled a few trash bags with the soaked soil. The stuff was used for preserving timber used outdoors. Worked good. Until it was banned as a carcinogen.
    I didn’t drive over anything, but driving long distance one night, a flatbed trailer up ahead lost its load of drill pipe. Those pipes were bouncing and rolling all over the place, like twenty foot long pick up sticks. I thought I’d amazingly dodged them all. But a few miles later i got to find that the end of one pipe had cut through a sidewall. Could have been a whole lot worse.

  15. David Avatar

    As a youth driving an MG Midget with the top down I hit a crow trying to rise up fast enough from the road kill it was picking at. It hit the grill, then rolled up the hood, over the windshield, and dropped into my lap. Bloody but still flapping all over. I sort of reached into my lap and scooped it toward the outside where thankfully the wind caught it again and pulled it out of my fear and misery. Some stains on my shorts but fortunately all from the bird and not me.

  16. crank_case Avatar

    A fox on an empty motorway at night, I could see him a long way in the distance. A foxes eyes reflect headlights perfectly so that they almost glow in the dark. I changed lanes to avoid him, but he ran to the lane I was in, so I changed lane again, each time he’d end up picking the lane I was in, eventually, there was no more time to react and he met swift oblivion on the bumper of a Fiat Punto.

  17. Alcology Avatar

    While driving with a friend in college in Maine to rent a movie, some Hong Kong action movie about assasins that I can’t remember, a herd of about 10 deer decided to sprint across the road. They sprinted into the truck. We watched one jump over the hood, one went over the whole truck, a bunch went over the bed, and two went into the side of the truck. No real damage, but spooked all involved.
    While driving BACK to Maine for his wedding, I watched some guy (idiot), with a poorly tied down child’s mattress dancing on his roof drive by. I thought, man that is going to fall off and be someone’s bad day. He then pulls in front of me to have the mattress fly off his car and head for me. I just kept on as braking would have been a bad idea, and the mattress went right in front of my car, AMC Eagle!, and got stuck for a few harrowing seconds and then got sucked under and driven over and out the back. Thankfully no problems. He slowed down and apologized, I thumbed OK and we went on our separate ways. He did not stop oddly enough.
    No animals thankfully.

  18. outback_ute Avatar

    A roll of barbed wire that was sitting in the middle of a dirt road when I came over a crest at about 60 mph. Definitely no chance to avoid it but at the time I thought between the bull bar and sump guard it would be fine; I forgot the driving lights which were smashed despite having covers. Another trip on the same road I came across a large goanna at least a foot long but it was running down the road and I think I straddled it.

  19. Lokki Avatar

    The weirdest thing I ever hit was a big tumbleweed one windy night in southern Idaho. I was driving through the desert dark at about 70 miles an hour and this huge brown thing suddenly appeared in my lights on the right side of the car and leaped onto my hood…and disappeared. It freaked me out a little, that did.

  20. roguetoaster Avatar

    The sheath for a bundle of shingles, and only about a minute from my destination. When I arrived I removed what I thought was all of it from the rear of the exhaust only to discover the next day, and for months afterwards that some melted to the top of the catalytic converter. Not only could I not get to it with anything (and I wasn’t ready to drop the exhaust), but at the time the car did not have working A/C, so I got to smell it every single time I got stuck in traffic.
    Several years afterwards I took a job at a roofing company, but cannot remember bringing this up, or even thinking of it one time when I worked there. I blame toxic plastic fumes for somehow not making that connection.

  21. XRSevin Avatar

    I once got a flat tire from a fork in the road. Really. Siverware.

    1. ptschett Avatar

      One day I walked out from work to discover my left rear tire was low. I limped to the tire store a few blocks from my home & they found most of a key stuck in the tire.

    2. Vairship Avatar

      Yogi Berra wants to know whether you took it?

  22. Alff Avatar

    Technically I didn’t run over anything but, collectively, my cars have crushed my dreams.

    1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
      dead_elvis, inc.

      Time to invest in better jack stands!

      1. nanoop Avatar

        Right, you don’t put your dreams under hydraulic jacks.

  23. MattC Avatar

    This is easy. In the time frame from 1988-1990, I was a college kid working at a rental car company. While doing the tedious yet somewhat fun job of cleaning cars, a trailer dropped off several new cars to add to our fleet. One was the Nissan Maxima (ala the 4DSC) is all its glory with barely more that a handful of miles on it. I begged my boss to just take the new, gleaming sports sedan for a quick jaunt. Begrudgingly she agreed as long as I was back in 10 minutes. I drove like a a bat out of hell on the freeway and then took the exit to return to the shop. At that same time on that same exit were a murder of crows bathing in water from a light rain shower. I hit the exit ramp about 20 over into said murder of crows before I could even brake. I remember the look my boss gave me as I entered the lot with a mixture of blood, feathers, and other bodily stains plastered on the front half of the car.

  24. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Uh, yeah, nearly forgot. I drove over a friend once. But only once! In my defense, his foot was in the wrong place, it was an undriven rear wheel, and I was getting close enough to the gas pump hose. And he was annoyed, but unhurt.

  25. salguod Avatar

    Just a few weeks ago I ran over what I think was a dog, already dead, with the wife’s Prius. Straddled it but it was big enough to make a heck of a racket passing under. No harm done.
    Daughter hit a deer with her Escort on the way to school. I guess launched it in the air pretty good too. I replaced both headlights and the internal header. Later found out the radiator had a pin hole too.
    My wife ran over a broom and mentioned that the van was making an odd noise. The broom handle threaded itself through the rear suspension and was rubbing on the tire. I extracted it and all was well.

  26. Sean McMillan Avatar
    Sean McMillan

    Parts of downtown Charleston have a pretty bad settling problem, such that the streets have settled several inches but the manholes have not. One night I was driving on one such street with a couple of very large friends in the backseat of my lancer and riding lower than I thought. I straddled the manhole to protect my suspension but wound up putting a big dent in my gas tank and splitting the upper seam.

  27. gord Avatar

    missed a lazy boy recliner that was sitting in the passing lane… mile down the road, truck on side of the road with 2 guys looking at their load scratching their heads (they lost it on an upgrade and they were on the other side of the hill before realizing lost it
    up here in ontario though, the attached is the worst thing i have seen locally (not my pix but local to my area)… moose running THROUGH a car… hitting a moose is like hitting a cow on stilts!
    friend was driving in NY and truck on overpass lost its load of pipes as well, one literally impaled their car between the front and rear seats!

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Wow, that there is a (non-?) solid argument against crap cans. Volvo and Saab have forever put a massive effort in strong a-pillars and roofs to avoid just this from happening. It’s a big fear in Central Scandinavia to hit a 3-700kg windshield destroyer – if it hits between roof and hood like above, there’s really nothing much to do for protection.

  28. spotarama Avatar

    my own worst was , unfortunately , a person….
    bad me, who had been in possession of a m/c licence for at least 2 weeks decided to go to a party on the other side of town and consume beer. riding home the only way I knew (straight through the CBD) I saw a person step out from the kerb, thought “must swerve away from person”, did so, and in a self congratulated way then thought “must now swerve back into my lane”, unfortunately it seems I had not actually gone past the errant pedestrian, who received a mirror to the middle of his chest, I watched in the other mirror as he fell to the ground. being drunk it occurred to me that the best course of action was to get the hell out of there, so to my eternal shame I didn’t stop to render assistance (and get arrested)
    my come-uppance came approximately 20 seconds later as I turned down the next road and ran straight into the back of a car waiting at a red light….
    I once also saw a slightly mangled looking tow-along concrete mixer sitting in the emergency lane of the freeway and thought “well, you don’t see that everyday”, then I noticed the 78 Valiant just in front of it with a caved in front end and thought “it seems he didn’t see it either”
    also on interstate trip from Melb to Sydney one night, the driver of our car wasn’t sure if that cockatoo on the road had gotten out of the way before we went through the same bit of time and space that it was occupying. when we stopped for fuel, we found it hadn’t and was spread eagled (spread cockatooed ?) across the grill of the Torana, big bugger too, it stretched most of the way across

  29. Guest Avatar

    I hit a deer with my dad’s YJ while heading home from a community hall.

    It was dark out, and I was a mile away from home, when 3 deer suddenly came out of nowhere. I slammed on the breaks, which I knew I shouldn’t do in a vehicle that doesn’t have ABS. Sliding to a stop, I thought I might actually miss all them before I actually managed to clip the hind leg of the last one.

    The deer hobbled off into the bush. I engaged the hazard lights and got out to survey the damage…

    Ant there was none! Not a scratch, not a blood spot, nothing!

    The best part about this whole story was the fact that this was maybe a week after the Jeep had returned to the road, following a three year restoration, and was the first time I had ever driven it!

  30. Cool_Cadillac_Cat Avatar

    I’ve managed to kill a number of animals with vehicles, one motorcycle, and at least two 4 or 6 wheeled machines.
    I think they’ve all been birds, though. The hummingbird on the bike made me sad, however.

    1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
      dead_elvis, inc.

      I caught a small bird – not hummingbird small, but smaller than a pigeon – in the shoulder while on the interstate at nearly legal speed, and thought I’d been hit by a rock. It appeared to have lost most of its insides across my jacket, and judging from the result, it was a shitbird.

    2. Vairship Avatar

      That would have made me sad too – hummingbirds on bikes are VERY rare!

  31. Infamous007 Avatar

    It was nighttime plus high winds and i was the designated driver and my drunk buddy let me drive his jetta 2.5. Got halfway home when the temp guage went into the red.
    Pulled the car over and discovered that i had some shrink wrapping like what warehouse workers use to shrink wrap cargo on pallets covering 75% of the front grille of the car and stuck. After removing the car cooled down and no further problems.

  32. Rudy™ Avatar

    I smacked a seagull (or was it two seagulls?) on I-94 back in the late 90s, with the top front of the hood. It only left a small streak, but it was like @njhoon said below about the sh*t hawk (aka Canadian Goose)–it was like a pillow exploded in front of me. Looking in the mirror, all I saw was a cloud of feathers. Good thing it wasn’t Utah or I’d probably have had to serve prison time!
    A few weekends ago, a bird seemingly flew in front of or under the car. Didn’t hear anything. About a week later, I notice there’s a crispy bird stuck between the lower opening in the bumper. Sorry dood. I still haven’t gone to poke the pathetic thing out–he’s sort of folded in half.
    I’ve gotten a few squirrels in my day. I don’t slow down for those…they dart out too quickly to avoid. Two close calls with deer also, but no strikes.
    Worst *thing* I’ve ever run into potentially could have been a lot worse. Owned a new craptastic Merkur XR4Ti and, coming off a ramp onto I-696, smacked into a piece of concrete rebar grid that was partly sticking out into the left lane. It only left about a one inch hole in the plastic bumper, but it also could have 1) gotten underneath the car and ripped things up or made me lose control, or 2) flown up higher and sailed right through the windshield. Luckily I bumped the end of one of the bars sticking out and sort of knocked it unintentionally further out of the way.

  33. cap'n fast Avatar
    cap’n fast

    i ran down a cat and dog. cat was chasing dog. 5 year old girl was chasing cat. between cars parked on street sides. 15 to 20 mph. two car lengths warning distance. it was a prescient type of decision. something i had considered may happen some day. childs parent was indignant to say the least. until i pointed out the choices i had. trade your dog and cat for your child. tough shit. deal with it…

  34. sporty88 Avatar

    I hit a dog once many years ago, or to be more precise, the dog hit my car – the car wasn’t moving.
    I was turning off a main road into a side street. At that moment, about 20-25 metres up the side street, a medium-sized German Shepherd slipped it’s leash and ran straight out at my car. I hit the brakes and pulled to a stop. Just as the front end rebounded, the dog head-butted the front bumper, about level with the passenger-side headlight, knocking itself out cold.
    I got out of the car to check on the dog just as the dog’s owner ran up, all apologetic. We moved the dog off the road, and thankfully it appeared OK, if a little bit dazed, after a couple of minutes.

  35. srikar Avatar

    Uh, yeah, nearly forgot. I drove over a friend once. But only once! In my defense, his foot was in the wrong place, it was an undriven rear wheel, and I was getting close enough to the gas pump hose. And he was annoyed, but unhurt.. thanks for sharing. btw international day of peace to you

    International World Peace Day Quotes 2017 in Hindi