Why is roadkill always on the side of the road? Do people drive up onto the shoulder to hit animals? Animals always seem to end up either on the center line or to the sides of the road. Is there some mechanism that I don't understand that nudges animals away from the lanes of traffic whenever people drive by?

View Thinker #394170's profile

Most of the dead bunnies(and there were many) I saw on the road back from Glasgow tonight were in the middle. The one we swerved to avoid was also in the middle of the road!

View Thinker #a7330f's profile

In some cases people do swerve to hit animals on the shoulder.

In some cases, the animal is bounced to the shoulder on impact.

In some cases, the animal is not yet dead and drags itself to the side of the road with it's last moments of life.

In all other cases, the carcass of the animal moves every time it gets hit. Eventually it moves to the side of the road, where it stays - as it's chances of getting hit are much lower on the shoulder than in the middle of the road. Even if a car does not directly hit the animal, the air pressure changes around the carcass when a car passes over it, or near to it, and this will also move the carcass - depending on size and how flattened the carcass is, how the carcass is positioned, etc, the pressure changes could move the carcass significantly.

Where it moves when it's hit, how far it moves, and whether or not it "makes it" to the shoulder before being not much more than a stain, is largely chance, or at least involves enough variables that it is only appropriately describable by chance without a lot of rather annoying experimentation.

There you go. I don't know if the above is actually the case, but it seems probable.

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View Thinker #a0104e's profile thought 15 years, 9 months ago...

Today i witnessed a gave me a lot to think about. i was walking our dogs down my street. there's one house in particular where a family of cats lives, and a cheeky little boy who once shouted, 'keep your dogs away from my cats!' as i approached i saw this little 6th grade boy start to walk across the street (not a busy street, although cars do tend to speed). the strange thing was that this kid was walking very slooooowly.

KER-SPLAT! he got hit.

that's a lie, but it makes the rest of my story easier to tell. anyway...not following his gaze, i thought he was just afraid of the dogs. he stopped at the far side of the road. i'm still confused. as i pass him i realize that there is a big gray cat lying in the grass DEAD and covered in flies. the kid starts quietly crying to himself. the person i'm with says, 'ooohhh...' in a sad tone as she kept walking. i wanted to go back and comfort the boy, but we didn't...probably because hungry dogs and dead cats don't go together very well. i looked back to make sure the kid atleast got out of the road and i saw him crying in the driveway. tonight's probably the saddest night of his little 11-year-old life, and he'll be a stronger person tomorrow because of it. the end.

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