Winter is coming: so are the moose

I’ve often wondering why there are so many more motor vehicle collisions involving moose in the winter months.

  • Nov. 2, 2016 3:00 p.m.

Barbara Latkowski

Caledonia Courier

I’ve often wondering why there are so many more motor vehicle collisions involving moose in the winter months.

On Highway 16, from Prince George to Prince Rupert, about 750 wildlife accidents happen in a given year.

Approximately 42 per cent of those collisions involve moose and 36 per cent are deer related.

Roy Rea, a senior instructor at the University of British Columbia has studied and compared moose collision statistics in areas with moose populations.

According to Rea, most moose collisions in B.C. do happen in the winter months, mostly in December and January.

The reason Rea believes, is due to seasonal migrations in British Columbia and Alaska where there are high elevation summer ranges that the animals can retreat to in the summer time and where they are up and away from roads.

The other common theme, Rea noticed also, is that most moose collisions do happen at night.

With the wintery conditions, the RCMP urges everyone to drive with extra care to avoid wildlife accidents by slowing down so that you have extra time to react to situation involving an animal while driving.

Other helpful tips according to the Wildlife Collision Prevention Program:

–          Watch for the yellow signs. The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure collects and interprets data on collision locations, frequency and high collision risk areas.

–          Reduce speed – this is the number one factor when it comes to wildlife accidents

–          Drive defensively and prepare yourself mentally in case you were confronted with an encounter with a moose on the road.

–          Moose are tall so their eyes are normally above the beams of most vehicle headlights so they are less likely to reflect the light.

–           Watch out between dusk and dawn. Light levels are low and animals are active.

–          Pay equal attention to the right and left hand sides of the road.

–          Use high beams when safe to do so and keep your windshield clean.

–           If you have to choose between swerving and striking a moose, consider swerving. A collision with a moose can weigh up to 1200 lbs.

–          If a crash with a moose is inevitable, crouch as low as possible in your seat as a moose`s body usually ends up crushing the roof of a car.

–          If you are about to crash, aim for the spot the animal is coming from, not where it is going.

–          Look where you want to go, not at the animal.

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