The Maine Department of Transportation recently issued a reminder to motorists to watch for moose on the road. Out-of-state visitors often chuckle when they see “moose crossing” signs, but colliding with a moose is no laughing matter.
Maine averages more than 600 crashes a year between moose and vehicles, killing 22 drivers over the past decade. Nearly 90% of crashes occur between dusk and dawn, with about 80% in darkness.
Moose are dark brown, and therefore difficult to see at night. They are so tall that their eyes do not reflect oncoming headlights. They tend to move in groups; if you see one, they may well be another. Because of their height, the animal is often thrown into the windshield when struck, causing injury and significant vehicle damage.
The DOT has produced a helpful brochure with safety hints, offering advice ranging from driving safely in known moose-crossing areas (operating “within your headlights”) to what to do if you see a moose in the roadway (stay in your vehicle, and don’t try to drive around it), to what to do if a crash is unavoidable (let up on the brakes just before impact).
Southern Maine drivers, especially in urban and suburban areas, tend to think that they’re out of the danger zone. But moose collisions have occurred in heavily populated neighborhoods in Portland, Lewiston-Auburn and Bangor.
Buckle up, slow down, drive carefully and live!