Spiders in the car: Check this one spot before driving to prevent a crash

Alis was almost killed by a hunter spider, but the spider never touched her.

He appeared in her car as she was driving and the shock caused him to suddenly swerve, rolling the vehicle and bringing her to the hospital.

“I’m very lucky to be alive,” she said.

While there are no statistics on accidents caused by spiders in particular, being distracted is one of the leading causes of car crashes in Australia, says Allan Roark, a driving instructor in Launceston.

“He’s one of the five mortals, suddenly distracted,” he said.

Mr. Roark says when people are surprised their fight-or-flight reflex can kick in.

“Try not to panic. It’s much easier said than done, especially if you’re afraid of spiders,” he says.

Why are Huntsman spiders most common in cars?

While it is quite common to have spiders and their webs on the outside of the car, these are usually the larger Huntsman spiders that are found inside cars.

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Owen Seeman, head of the arachnid and myriapod collection at the Queensland Museum, explains that this is because Huntsman spiders are looking for a good place to rest.

“If you go out into the bush and see a eucalyptus tree with large bark shoots peeling off, that’s where they like to spend their day. It’s a nice sheltered space, it’s dry and then at night they come out, “says Dr Seeman.

“So if you look at the car, where do we find them? Under the visor, it’s almost like they are [under] a piece of bark. “

But as soon as the car starts to move and vibrate, or someone pulls the sun visor down, the spider feels unsafe and may panic.

“When this happens, the spider itself is absolutely terrified,” says Dr. Seeman.

“He had been tucked up in bed and sound asleep, so to speak, and the next thing you know, a person ripped off the roof of his house and he’s exposed and his instant reaction is to run like crazy and try to find shelter. “

It’s important in these times of panic to remember that the last thing the spider wants to do is try to bite you, says Dr. Seeman.

“He’s absolutely not going to jump on you and bite you or anything. He’s just trying to get away,” he said.

Dr Seeman says the best thing you can do is calmly find a place to stop the car, get out, and let the spider find its own way.

If the spider disappears under a seat or elsewhere in the car, it won’t budge unless it feels threatened again.

Once a hunter has been disturbed from their home, they are unlikely to want to return, says Dr. Seeman.

Check for sleeping spiders before driving

Dr Seeman and Mr Roark say the best thing to do if you’re worried about spiders in the car is to check them out before you sit down and leave.

Lower the visor before entering to give you and the spider the best chance of a safe return home.

Keeping the car clean can help by reducing the number of hiding places for a hunter, but it’s difficult to prevent them entirely due to their size and natural habit of wanting to get into tight spaces to stay dry and safe.

Huntsman spiders are found in all parts of Australia. They eat other spiders and insects, which makes them great roommates, says Dr. Seeman.

“I love them, if I see them at home, it’s fantastic,” he says.

“I just let them live there… Some of the bigger ones might have a startled reaction which might be a bit startling and make it look like they’re trying to bite you, but in reality they’re just trying to protect themselves and look fat and hope you don’t kill them. “

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