Mark Rober, an engineer at NASA with apparently a lot of spare time on his hands, designed an experiment in which he placed rubber animals on the side of the road to see how many cars go out of their way to run over them - and the results are not reassuring.

Rober found that about 6 per cent of the 1,000 drivers he observed would swerve out of their lane just so they could squish an animal, albeit a rubber one, with their vehicle.
The 6%_1
© YouTubeRoadkill experiment: Mark Rober has found that 3.2 per cent of drivers were eager to run over a rubber tarantula, followed by 1.8 per cent who went after a snake and 1 per cent who had no qualms with killing an innocent turtle.
The young engineer, decked out in a white lab coat, alternately placed a rubber spider, a tarantula, a turtle and a snake - with a leaf as a control object - on the shoulder of a road.

In an entertaining YouTube video below, presenting his findings in the form of charts drawn with colorful crayons, Rober points out that 94 per cent of the motorists stayed their course and ignored the animal in the road.

The remaining six per cent, however, deliberately ran over the critters, although they were placed outside their driving path and presented no danger to them even if they were real.
The 6%_2
© YouTubeTest subjects: Rober alternately placed a turtle, a spider, a snake and a leaf as a control object on the shoulder of a road.
'One thing that might explain the higher numbers here - in case people question my methods - is that I used a tarantula,' Rober points out in the video below.

He found that drivers seemed especially keen on killing the vile-looking arachnid. If the spider is taken out of the equation, the number of 'sadistic animal killers' goes down to 2.8 per cent.
The 6%_3
© YouTubeDisturbing finds: Although 94 per cent of the drivers observed by Rober did the sane thing and avoided hitting the critters, 6 per cent deliberately ran over them.
According to Rober's data, the worst offenders are SUV owners: of the 60 vehicles that drove over the rubber animals, 89 per cent were behind the wheel of an SUV.
The 6%_4
© YouTubeCar facts: Rober has found that 89 per cent of the drivers who swerved to kill a critter were behind the wheel of an SUV.
If the motorists' murderous desire to exterminate spiders and snakes can be chucked up to the animals' lack of personal appeal and bad reputation, there still remains the question of why 1 per cent of people would run over a harmless turtle.

Rober's unsettling experiment results did have a silver lining: nearly 6 per cent of drivers pulled over to try and help the animals, especially the snake and the turtle. No one, however, rushed to the tarantula's aid, prompting Rober to jokingly comment that the species needs a new PR strategy.
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© YouTubeMixed reactions: While some 60 people left their vehicle and went to save the animal in the road, one man with a pony tail, left, ended up stealing the rubber snake.
The drivers who encountered the critters on the shoulder of the road had different reactions to them. One woman who was seemingly poised to rescue the snake ended up throwing plums at it, while a man whom Rober dubbed 'a pony-tailed science hater' stole the fake serpent.