The North Bay Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police are asking that drivers be alert to moose being a hazard for vehicles traveling on our roadways. Drivers are asked to be aware of the risk of motor vehicle collisions involving moose and to drive accordingly in areas where the potential for moose to cross roadways exists.
As long as there are moose in Ontario, they will be found on our highways. Even in areas with very low moose density, moose are still attracted to roadways and can pose a hazard to drivers.
Whistles, reflectors, and odour repellents to frighten them away from passing vehicles or to keep them from roadsides have been tested in North America and Europe but none have proven to be effective.
Care and attention when driving remains your best defense against a moose-vehicle accident.
While accidents are reported year round, most occur between May and October. The three most critical months are June, July, and August.
We all enjoy driving around our beautiful province and seeing the wildlife; but beware. As amazing as these animals are, they can also be hazardous to drivers. A fully matured moose can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds. This WILL DO DAMAGE to your car, yourself, and possibly to others.
Moose have legs that are approximately 4 feet tall. This, combined with their large bodies, can make moose contact with a car or truck different than a smaller animal. The vehicle will strike the moose in the legs, sending the body into the windshield. Very seldom is this a fatal hit to the moose, and it will thrash around trying to get free.
Knowing these things, slow down and stay alert. Keep yourself safe and keep our wildlife here for others to see and enjoy.
Some important things to remember:
- A road sign like “Caution, moose next 11 kilometers” means moose cross the road you are on, frequently. Moose crossing signs are not placed at random, they indicate high risk areas.
- The likelihood of injury is twice as high between dusk and dawn than during daytime.
- The risk of injury is higher for vehicles traveling at highway speeds so please keep to speed limits.
- Be cautious in areas with reduced visibility, such as hills, turns in the road or sides of the road where vegetation is dense.
- Having passengers in the vehicle doubles the risk of injury due to driver inattentiveness. Have passengers watch for moose too.
- Seat belts are mandatory. Keep your seat belt buckled at all times. Vehicle occupants who do not wear seat belts are 8 times more likely to be seriously injured or killed in a moose-vehicle collision.
No one wants to hit a moose intentionally but often it is better to hit the animal than to try desperately to avoid it. Many people who are hurt or killed in this situation have made the mistake of veering out of their lane and hitting another vehicle or fixed obstacle.
If you are going to collide with a moose you can at least try to avoid serious injury by remembering the following:
- Stay on the road and maintain a strong grip on the steering wheel
- Use your horn, it may scare the moose away
- Brake sharply, or if you have time, pump your brakes, or put on your emergency flashers to warn the vehicle behind you of the immanent danger
- Stop your vehicle slowly and in a controlled manner