Cincinnati police blamed a recent car crash in the city’s East End neighborhood on a cicada bug that infiltrated the car and disturbed the driver.
Fortunately for the driver, they only sustained minor injuries. The cicada was not as lucky, and was found dead on the car floor.
A tweet by the Cincinnati Police Department said that the cicada flew through an open window and hit the driver’s face, causing them to crash into a utility pole and wreck their car.
Swarms of Brood X cicadas have unleashed over the eastern United States during their mating season after a 17-year period tunneling underground.
The red-eyed bugs have the longest life span of any insect but die shortly after mating. Brood X cicadas are expected to disappear by July until reappearing for the next cycle in 2-17 years.
The department’s social media director, Sgt. Eric Franz, told NPR this has been the first major cicada-related incident in the area during this cycle. Police have advised city residents to keep their car windows closed while driving.
The AAA has advised drivers to be cautious, explaining how the bugs can cause problems with vehicles and lead to dangers on the roads.
Because cicadas are attracted to heat, they can get inside the engine and obstruct air flow, causing the car to overheat.
“While cicadas are harmless, they can cause quite a bit of damage externally and internally to vehicles,” explained Melvin Escobar, Car Care Manager at the AAA Rockville Car Care Center. “Drivers are urged to take proactive steps to protect their vehicles while cicadas are in the area.”
The AAA recommends washing vehicles frequently, making sure windshield wipers and washers work to maintain visibility after bug splatters, clearing internal radiator grills, and inspecting cabin and air filters to make sure they are clear.
If a cicada or two get through an open window, the AAA advises to keep calm and do not slam on the brakes. “Don’t slam on the brakes. Don’t stop in a traffic lane. Simply slow down and slowly pull over. Once in a safe place, roll down the window, and the cicada will bid you farewell,” said Escobar.