MAINE - Motorists need to be aware that Moose are on the move in June, and statistics show that there are more moose vehicle crashes in June than any other month of the year.
"Moose frequent roadways during the late spring and early summer," said Roland D. Martin, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. "Drivers need to be alert when driving in areas populated by moose, and be certain to use their seatbelts."
Moose travel to roadways for several reasons. After a long winter of eating poor-quality food, their bodies crave the salt that is found along roadsides. The sides of roads are also the first areas to green up in the spring, offering tender plant shoots as another source of food for moose. And yearling moose (last year's calves), recently forced away by their mothers as the mothers prepare to give birth to this year's calves, often travel and find themselves around roads.
Nighttime is also peak time for moose-vehicle collisions. The number of moose crashes peaks between 7:00 p.m. and midnight. Moose move more during the evening after it cools from the daytime high temperatures.
Moose collisions can happen anywhere in the state, and the state averages roughly 3 fatalities a year. As a driver, there are several steps you can take to minimize the chance of being involved in a moose-vehicle collision.
* Drivers should reduce their speed when it is dark."A moose vehicle accident can cause serious injury, or even death," said Colonel Thomas Santaguida of the Maine Warden Service. "Statistics show that one of every four moose-vehicle crashes causes significant injury."
With their dark brown color, moose are difficult to see at night; and because of their height, their eyes do not readily reflect oncoming headlights. They also tend to move in groups. If you see one, slow down, because there may be another, and be on the lookout for tall silhouettes along roadsides.
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