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Startling Video Shows a Big Bear Charging at a Car

The bear didn’t appear to be defending cubs or sources of food when it lunged at the vehicle.

Watch: Bear Charges Car

Two people in Yakutat, Alaska, were driving down a windy two-lane road in early July when a bear charged out of the woods at them.

The brown bear (Ursus arctos) was ahead of them in the road when they spotted it and slowed down to let it finish crossing. As they drove past the spot where the bear had disappeared into the trees, it came barreling back out onto the road, charging straight at them.

Cody Kunau, the fishing guide for Yakutat Lodge who captured the footage, wrote in the video’s description that they turned the car around to see if there were bear cubs or food sources nearby that could have made the bear so agitated, but they couldn’t see anything from the road.

After the incident they drove to the lodge, which was nearby, to warn others about the bear. They also witnessed the bear chase another car on the road.

When a bear charges at something, it is feeling threatened, according to the National Park Service. Their website indicates that most bear charges are bluff charges, where a bear runs at full speed right up to the perceived threat and then stops just before reaching it. A full-blown brown bear attack is quite rare.

If a bear charges at you, the National Park Service’s guide to bear safety recommends standing your ground. If a bear does attack you, NPS recommends playing dead and making no noise until the bear loses interest and leaves; you should only respond by fighting the bear if the attack continues vigorously at length. (Related: How to Not Get Attacked By a Bear)

In an extremely rare event in August 2015, a grizzly bear killed a hiker in Yellowstone National Park. The chances of being injured by a bear are approximately 1 in 2.1 million, according to the National Park Service.