Photo by Cheryl Landes
Car accidents caused by colliding with moose aren’t unusual in New England but happen the most in Maine. Each year, the Maine Department of Transportation compiles and publishes statistics from moose crashes. MaineDOT reports that from September 2016 through Labor Day 2017, the number of crashes dropped and are most likely to happen in the evening and during the month of June.
When driving the roads in New England, always be alert for moose – even on the interstates. They’re hard to see at night because their dark bodies blend into the landscape. Moose are stressed easily, so they’re also very unpredictable. If you see a moose at the side of the road, slow down and leave ample space. If the moose is in the road, stop and wait until the moose leaves. Trying to drive around a moose or honking at it to encourage it to move out of the way can provoke it and cause it to lunge at your car. They’re big and strong and often total cars.
Patience is crucial.
During one of my drives in Maine, we were stopped on Highway 202 north of The Forks while a mother moose and her calf stood in the middle of the road. Everyone waited in their cars with the engines turned off. The traffic jam ended 45 minutes later when the mother and her calf crossed the road and disappeared into the woods.
Another time, when I was leaving Baxter State Park north of Millinocket after a long day of hiking, a moose appeared on the side of the road and started running alongside my SUV next to the passenger side. The young moose was as tall as my Honda CR-V. I was driving 20 miles per hour, the speed limit in the park, and the moose kept up with me for two miles. Then it made a sharp right turn and ran into the pine forest.