Avoiding/Minimizing Moose-Related Crashes
In the state of Alaska, cars and moose can be a fatal combination. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates an average of 800 moose-related accidents each year on Alaskan roads and highways – the highest in North America.
Moose are massive animals, weighing from 800 to 1,300 pounds and standing as tall as 6 feet, 6 inches at the shoulder. When the front of a vehicle strikes a moose, it tends to impact its long legs, sending the bulk of the animal to collide into the windshield and roof. Though only about one quarter of one percent are fatal for the people involved, the Journal of the American College of Surgeons warns that traffic accidents involving moose are 13 times more likely to result in human death than crashes with deer.
The State of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has reported that the majority of moose-related vehicle collisions occur during the dark, snowy months of December, January, and February, though Alaskan drivers should be on the look-out for moose and other wildlife near roadways any time of year.
Keep the following tips in mind to help avoid collisions:
- Drive with caution near posted moose crossings, near forested areas, and around known “moose hotspots”.
- Be especially attentive during peak moose activity hours. Moose often travel around dusk, dawn, and during the night, so these are the highest risk times for moose-vehicle collisions.
- Use your high beam headlights when possible, as the light will help illuminate the road and any animals in your path.
- Always wear your seat belt and obey the speed limit. Maintaining the speed limit will give you more time to react if you see a moose in the road.
- If you see a moose on the side of the road, slow down, and keep an eye out for other moose that may be nearby.
- Do not rely on the reflection of a moose’s eyes to alert you of the animal’s presence. Moose are tall animals, and their eyes are often above your headlights.
- If your vehicle strikes a moose, avoid going near or touching the animal. A frightened and wounded moose can hurt you or further injure itself. The best procedure is to get your car off the road, if possible, and call the police.S
If you are involved in a moose- or other animal-related collision, contact your Independent Insurance Agent as quickly as possible to report any damage to your car. Collision with a moose or other animal is covered under the comprehensive portion of your automobile policy.