A family visiting Yellowstone National Park had a shock recently when their car became caught in the middle of a bison stampede – and one animal ran right into the windshield, smashing it.
A video of the close call (which you can watch below) was shared this week via Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks. The account usually calls out bad behavior at sites of natural beauty, including people chasing bears and washing their dogs in hot springs, but this family were just unlucky.
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The visitors were wise to stay inside their cars. According to the National Park Service (NPS), bison are the most dangerous animal at Yellowstone, responsible for more injuries than any other creature, including bears and snakes.
"The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be," says the NPS. "The safest (and often best) view of wildlife is from inside a car. Always stay at least 100 yards (91m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk."
If you're not sure whether you're giving a bison enough space, hold out your arm, close one eye, and give the animal a thumbs up. If you can completely obscure the bison with your thumb, you're far enough away. If not, you should back up.
If there are bison in your path, take a different route or turn around and head back rather than trying to squeeze past. Last year, a woman hiking in a Texas State Park was seriously injured when she decided to sneak past a small herd rather than taking a long detour.
For more advice, see our guide how to avoid being gored by a bison.