Spiders Cause Recalls, Auto Accidents

On March 3 we tweeted an Associated Press story about a spider problem that lead to a recall of the 2009-2010 Mazda6 automobile. This spurred quite an office debate about bugs getting into our cars. No one here can attribute an auto accident to one of the tiny hitch hikers, but we certainly have strong opinions about which bug is more distressing in the car–spiders or bees?

Personally, some of us felt we had truly reached responsible adulthood after a spider dropped into our lap and we somehow managed to remain inside our lane on the highway. Others of us felt a bit more panicked after a bee flew in an open driver’s side window. We couldn’t turn up any kind of scientific study from which to estimate a number of auto accidents or driver personal injuries caused by insects moving inside cars, but we did find some international incidents had made the headlines.

A blog by the Canadian Automobile Association titled “7 of the Most Unusual Causes of Car Accidents” included an insect tale. A woman collided with an oncoming vehicle in 2005 claiming she was so “freaked out” by a spider that she started driving erratically. The accident resulted in serious injuries.

In 2008, the Netherlands-based international news and information community reported that two lanes of traffic were brought to a halt because of an overturned vehicle in The Hague. The auto accident was caused by a woman who lost control of her car while trying to kill a spider.

A little bit closer to home, the Orange County Register reported that an automobile crashed into a Newport Beach art studio in 2009 after a woman hit the gas pedal instead of the brake. The driver said she was distracted by a spider that had dropped down in front of her.

Looks like the spiders have it for most successful driving distraction! So, think about ways to react if a sudden distraction–like an bug, bird or rodent getting inside the passenger compartment–should occur while you’re behind the wheel and driving 65 mph. Calmness can help you avoid an auto accident and personal injury.

The Mazda6 recall affected about 50,000 vehicles from the 2009-2010 line. According to Mazda, the yellow sac spider, which is particularly attracted to automobile fuel, could potentially weave a web across a fuel vent line of the Mazda6. Due to the make of this model, the web could restrict the release of fuel vapors, increase pressure in the fuel tank and cause a crack that could lead to a fire. Dealers reported 20 cases of issues with the spider and the Mazda6 prior to the official recall. Fortunately, there were no reports of the spiders having caused any auto accidents.

Be sure to follow @AskGordonNow on Twitter for the latest on spider-instigated vehicle recalls.