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ST. ANTHONY, N.L. — When Canadian drivers hit the highways, there’s always a distinct possibility a moose is just around the corner.
One can appear before your very eyes, seemingly out of nowhere. And a fraction of a second is all you're given to react.
So how do you remain safe in such a situation?
Driving instructor Hank Diamond and St. Anthony RCMP Const. Mark Grundy offer this advice:
- Diamond advises that the regulated speed limit is for “ideal” driving conditions. “And you know our roads aren’t ideal at the best of times in the middle of summer, with the ruts and the potholes,” says Diamond. In his classes, Diamond stresses the importance of decreasing speeds at night and when there is inclement weather.
- Drivers also have to be careful and slow down on the Northern Peninsula because the vegetation is so close to the road. “You don’t have that buffer zone where you can actually see the animal on the side of the road,” Diamond says. “Sometimes you’re right on top of it, so your speed has to be reduced big time there as well.”
- Ensure snow tires are on during the winter months.
- When driving at night, ensure headlights are working and keep them clear of snow.
- Both Diamond and Grundy stress the importance of not “outdriving” your headlights at night - this means driving at such a speed where you are unable to stop inside the illuminated area ahead.
- If you need to break after spotting a moose, Grundy says to break “as well as you can” and stresses the importance of breaking in a straight line. “You can come to a stop much faster if you’re breaking in a straight line and less likely to skid out of control,” says Grundy.
- Diamond suggests putting your hand on the gear shift and using the transmission to slow you down along with the break. “You decrease your braking distance,” he explains. “If you think you’re going to hit it, you won’t hit it near as hard.”
- Grundy also advises drivers to always ensure they’re wearing a seatbelt.
The good news? Moose collisions have declined across Newfoundland in 2018.
The Department of Transportation and Works released data recently showing moose-vehicle collisions have dropped from nearly 50 per month in 2016 and 2017 to about 22 in 2018.