Crashing a car into a moose — or even almost crashing into one — is a fear ingrained in the lives of most Mainers. Signs across the state warn of potential moose collisions.
The animals are large enough to sometimes flip over the front of the vehicle, crashing through the windshield and roof. Recently, a Danforth woman was injured when her car struck a moose on Route 1 in Amity.
But the truth is that you’re more likely to die in a car crash by veering outside the yellow or white lines than by hitting a moose. Only about one person per year dies in a moose crash, while 108 die in what the Maine Department of Transportation describes as “lane departures.” That’s when a vehicle crashes head-on with another or goes off the road. In total, about 150 people each year die in all car crashes.
Of course far more crashes happen without someone dying, and mainly they’re attributed to inexperience, swerving and intersections, according to the Maine Department of Transportation. On average, 436 crashes each year involve moose.
When are you most likely to hit a moose — or a deer, for that matter? Moose crashes usually peak in late spring or early summer, while deer crashes peak in the fall, according to the Maine Department of Transportation.
They also tend to happen at dusk. About 66 percent of deer crashes and 76 percent of moose crashes happen when the sun is setting.
But you should probably be more concerned about where you are. Aroostook County sees the most moose-related crashes than any other single county by far.
But while no one wants to hit a moose, the odds are that you’re more likely to hit a deer. And you definitely don’t have to be in The County to do that. While only 5,501 crashes involved moose between 2004 and 2013, 32,704 crashes involved deer.