Snakes are wonderful animals; beautiful to look at, efficient vermin killers, silent, peaceful, and the personification of strength & grace. Even venomous snakes, when viewed in the proper context, are wonderful and fascinating animals. They do not know they're venomous so they can't be blamed for having venom, it's just a tool they use for catching prey. Venomous snakes aren't out to "get" anyone but their food. Given the opportunity almost all snakes, venomous or not, will make every effort to avoid contact with humans - or anything larger than prey.
I've frequently seen snakes "DOR", which is a reptile enthusiast's shorthand for "Dead On Road". To even a slightly trained eye, it's often clear they were run over on purpose, even if the snake is completely harmless and totally benificial to everyone.
Why do people hate them? Lack of education, lack of understanding, lack of tolerance, lack of empathy, lack of respect. If people would take the time to learn about them and understand their unique niche in Mother Nature's plan, there would be more snakes, fewer rats & mice invading our homes & food supplies, and happier people.
Keep an open mind and educate people whenever you can, that's all you can do!
Long-time snake keeper, manager of several different reptile groups at groups.yahoo.com/, and yes ... the victim of a rattlesnake bite (it was totally my own fault).