Many N.L. driv­ers don’t know how to avoid a moose-ve­hi­cle col­li­sion: sur­vey

The Beacon (Gander) - - Sports - BY GLEN WHIFFEN

On a clear night, an ex­pe­ri­enced high­way driver can de­tect the re­flec­tion of head­lights in the eyes of a moose or other an­i­mal in time to stop to avoid a col­li­sion.

But that is not some­thing most driv­ers can rely upon. The an­i­mals’ eyes can only be de­tected if the moose is fac­ing or is per­pen­dic­u­lar to the on­com­ing ve­hi­cle, and if the weather is clear enough.

Com­mon sense will tell you that re­duc­ing speed and keep­ing a watch­ful eye scanning both sides of the road is the best way to avoid moose-ve­hi­cle col­li­sions.

A newly re­leased na­tional sur­vey from State Farm Canada sheds some light on how Cana­di­ans re­act to wildlife while driv­ing.

What is in­ter­est­ing for this prov­ince is that the sur­vey re­sults in­di­cate 20 per cent of New­found­land driv­ers do not feel con­fi­dent that they would know how to avoid a col­li­sion with a large an­i­mal.

And even with all the aware­ness cam­paigns, sig­nage and dis­cus­sion in New­found­land and Labrador about moo­seve­hi­cle col­li­sions in re­cent years, 89 per cent of the peo­ple sur­veyed be­lieve bet­ter pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion about how to re­act to wildlife on the road is needed to pre­vent col­li­sions that could lead to in­juries and fa­tal­i­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to State Farm Canada, the sur­vey found about one in three driv­ers in the coun­try do not feel con­fi­dent that they would know how to avoid a col­li­sion with a large an­i­mal, and over 80 per cent be­lieve bet­ter pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion is needed.

The sur­vey found Cana­di­ans are most likely to brake (66 per cent) or take their foot off the gas (55 per cent) when they see an an­i­mal on the high­way. More than one-third in­di­cated they would honk their horn, and onequar­ter said they would swerve.

“The un­pre­dictabil­ity of these sit­u­a­tions, com­bined with hu­man im­pulses to try to pre­serve the lives of these an­i­mals, makes these sit­u­a­tions dif­fi­cult and dan­ger­ous,” says John Bordignon of State Farm Canada.

“In fact, ac­cord­ing to po­lice and road safety ex­perts, swerv­ing is not the best strat­egy when ap­proach­ing wildlife on the road. In­stead, they ad­vise driv­ers to main­tain their line, even if it’s to­ward the an­i­mal, and firmly ap­ply the brakes. Swerv­ing could send you into the path of an on­com­ing ve­hi­cle or cause you to lose con­trol of your car.”

The sur­vey also found more than 25 per cent of re­spon­dents said they have hit a small an­i­mal on the road while driv­ing and more than 25 per cent have ei­ther hit or nearly hit a large an­i­mal.

Moose-ve­hi­cle col­li­sions and ways to pre­vent them have been a ma­jor is­sue in this prov­ince for many years and have led to the for­ma­tion of or­ga­ni­za­tions such as SOPAC (Save Our Peo­ple Ac­tion Com­mit­tee).

Ac­cord­ing to its web­site, SOPAC was of­fi­cially formed in 2009 by sur­vivors of moo­seve­hi­cle col­li­sions to take on and high­light the prob­lem of moose on the high­ways in New­found­land and Labrador.

“It has be­come ev­i­dent by the num­ber of moose-ve­hi­cle col­li­sions that are re­oc­cur­ring in many of the same lo­ca­tions and the con­tin­ued num­ber of moose sight­ings be­ing recorded in the me­dia and on the var­i­ous so­cial me­dia chan­nels that there are pat­terns,” the web­site states. “Gov­ern­ment should rec­og­nize them and take ac­tion to pro­tect the driv­ers on our high­ways.”

As in pre­vi­ous years, this past spring SOPAC part­nered with the Gov­ern­ment of New­found­land and Labrador to con­tinue a pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion and aware­ness cam­paign.

The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment stated that in 2016, there were 580 moose-ve­hi­cle col­li­sions in New­found­land and Labrador. While moose-ve­hi­cle col­li­sions can hap­pen year-round, most oc­cur be­tween May and Oc­to­ber, statis­tics in­di­cate.

And though moose are more likely to be seen along high­ways and road­ways at dusk and dawn, col­li­sions of­ten take place dur­ing other times of the day— es­pe­cially at night when moose are more dif­fi­cult to see.

Tips pro­vided by the gov­ern­ment and SOPAC on how driv­ers can avoid col­li­sions in­clude: scan both sides of the high­way when you travel; don’t be dis­tracted and pay close at­ten­tion to high­way warn­ing signs; avoid driv­ing at dusk and dawn when moose are more com­mon along­side high­ways; have pas­sen­gers also watch for moose; do not drive above posted speed lim­its; and do not travel at night when moose are more dif­fi­cult to see.

Wind­shields and head­lights should also be kept clean and driv­ers should be aware that moose are un­pre­dictable — even if stand­ing calmly on the edge of the road, they could bolt in front of a ve­hi­cle at the last mo­ment. Pre­lim­i­nary no­tices

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Flu clinic at United Church Hall Ge­orge’s point, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Flu clinic at Vic­to­ria Cove Com­mu­nity Health Cen­tre, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Flu shots are pro­vided at no cost to all in­di­vid­u­als six months of age and older. There are walk-in clin­ics, no ap­point­ments nec­es­sary. Please bring your MCP card. For more info call Pub­lic Health at 629-7393

Re­tired Teach­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of NL (cen­tral divi­sion)

Reg­u­lar meet­ing 11 a.m. at Qual­ity Ho­tel and Suites. An­nual auc­tion will take place dur­ing the af­ter­noon ses­sion. For fur­ther info call 256-4617; 535-2569; 489-2929.

St. Martin’s ACW Fall Bazaar at St. Martin’s Hall, 2 p.m.

St. Joseph’s Church

En­nis Sis­ters Christ­mas Con­cert, 7: 30 p.m. Tick­ets are $25 and avail­able at the parish of­fice, 256-3151.

St. Martin’s A.C.W. card game at St. Martin’s Hall, 8 p.m.

Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter­day Saints

Reg­u­lar Sun­day meet­ings at 10 a.m. at the Gan­der Se­nior Cit­i­zens Cen­ter. For more info call 4221437 or 683-7361

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Gan­der Women’s In­sti­tute

An in­vi­ta­tion to join an en­thu­si­as­tic group of ladies, learn new things, at­tend in­ter­est­ing talks and demon­stra­tions, have lots of fun. We meet the first Mon­day of each month. For more info call 2568577 or email gan­derwi@gmail. com

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Be­come a CNIB Vi­sion Mate and ex­pe­ri­ence the rewards of giv­ing back. With only two hours a week, you can help some­one in your com­mu­nity with ev­ery­day tasks. Learn how at cnib.ca/vol­un­teer or by calling your lo­cal CNIB of­fice at 1-800-563-2642.

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YQX Quil­ters’ Guild meets on the third Thurs­day of each month at 7:30 p.m., in the art gallery of the J.R. Small­wood Arts and Cul­ture Cen­tre. New mem­bers are al­ways wel­come.

Rug Hook­ing

The Hook­ing Mat­ters meet the first and third Sun­days, 1:30-4 pm, at the Arts & Cul­ture Cen­ter. For info call 256-3578.

Lit­er­acy NL

Learn Line 1-800-563-1111 can pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on a va­ri­ety of lo­cal pro­grams and ser­vices: pri­vate vol­un­teer tu­tors for adults; adult ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion; ex­tra help for your school-age child; learn­ing English as a sec­ond lan­guage (ESL); fam­ily learn­ing; GED (high school equiv­a­lency); prepa­ra­tion for post-sec­ondary; work­place learn­ing. For more in­for­ma­tion on the Learn Line, visit: http://www. lit­er­a­cynl.com

Al­co­holics Anony­mous

Gan­der Care and Share Group (709) 651-2001 Meet­ing times: Sun­day 8 p.m., Tues­day 8 p.m., Fri­day 1:15 and 8 p.m. All meet­ings are closed ex­cept for the last Sun­day of each month. This last Sun­day is an open meet­ing mean­ing fam­ily and friends are wel­come. Meet­ings are held at Fraser Road United Church (side en­trance).

AL-ANON – Ala­teen

Did you know that there are meet­ings for fam­i­lies and friends af­fected by prob­lem drinkers? If you wish to know about the meet­ings in your area, please call 1-888-4252666.

Gan­der Sta­tus of Women

The Gan­der Women’s Cen­tre lo­cated on 61 El­iz­a­beth Drive is open Mon­day to Fri­day. Our hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Drop in or give us a call1-866-442-4445 or 256-4395. We are here to Help Women help them­selves.

The Arthri­tis So­ci­ety

Is Arthri­tis caus­ing un­wel­come changes in your life­style? Call the Arthri­tis So­ci­ety for a free re­source kit. Re­ceive in­for­ma­tion on your type of arthri­tis, nu­tri­tion, the Top 10 ex­er­cises to re­lieve stiff­ness and pain, and much more.

Call the St. John’s of­fice at 5798190 or toll-free 1-800-321-1433.

Par­ents ‘n’ Tots

Look­ing for fun and friend­ship? Come out to Fraser Road United Church Hall on Mon­day morn­ings, 10-11:30 a.m. A great time to meet other par­ents and make new friends.

MADD

Gan­der& Area MADD, MADD Canada (Moth­ers against Drunk Driv­ing) is a na­tional char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tion with Chap­ters across the coun­try, in­clud­ing one in Gan­der. MADD vol­un­teers in­clude not only moth­ers but fa­thers, friends, con­cerned cit­i­zens and young peo­ple who want to make a dif­fer­ence in the fight against im­paired driv­ing. Get in­volved by email­ing Gan­der & Area MADD at mad­dgan­der@gmail.com

Broad­en­ing Hori­zons

Broad­en­ing Hori­zons is a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion of­fer­ing pro­grams to adults with in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­ity in Gan­der. Broad­en­ing Hori­zons of­fers pro­grams with ad­dress life, work and so­cial skills, ed­u­ca­tional train­ing, re­cre­ation and leisure as well as pro­vid­ing the op­tion of a group em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­nity for its clients. For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on pro­grams of­fered and el­i­gi­bil­ity, please con­tact JamiLee Wil­liams at 256-3526.

Fam­ily Re­source Cen­tre

Do you have a fam­ily mem­ber serv­ing over­seas with the mil­i­tary? Do you have ques­tions or con­cerns? Maybe we could help. Please call Colleen His­cock at the Gan­der Mil­i­tary Fam­ily Re­source Cen­tre for more in­for­ma­tion, at 1-800-557-1702 or 256-1703 ext. 1202.

Se­niors Re­source Cen­tre

If you are hav­ing prob­lems find­ing an­swers, mak­ing con­tact, or sim­ply need ad­vice, please call the se­niors’ in­for­ma­tion line at 1-800-563-6699. We are avail­able.

Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion

Got a ques­tion about a men­tal health or men­tal ill­ness is­sue? Call Tia at CMHA’s Men­tal Health Re­source Cen­tre at 489-3302 or 1-855-489-3302, or e-mail tmor­ris@cmhanl.ca. Pri­vacy as­sured.

Lung As­so­ci­a­tion

Think­ing about quit­ting smok­ing? Call our quit line for valu­able in­di­vid­ual ad­vice about quit­ting and how to keep from start­ing again. It’s free, it’s help­ful, and it will help you breathe a lit­tle eas­ier. Call the Lung As­so­ci­a­tion at 1-800-363-5864.

New­found­land & Labrador Sex­ual Health Cen­tre

Do you have ques­tions about birth con­trol, safer sex or any­thing to do with sex­ual health? You can call New­found­land and Labrador Sex­ual Health Cen­tre for con­fi­den­tial and ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion. Our prov­ince wide toll-free num­ber is 1-877-NO-MYTHS (1-877-6669847). We won’t tell you what to do, but we will give you the facts. Drunk Driver Alert

The Drunk Driver Alert Pro­gram en­cour­ages peo­ple to re­port known or sus­pected drunk driv­ers in time to avert need­less in­jury or death. Any­one who sus­pects a driver may be im­paired is asked to call the RCMP im­me­di­ately at 2566841, giv­ing their lo­ca­tion and a de­scrip­tion of the sus­pect ve­hi­cle, in­clud­ing make, model, colour and li­cense num­ber, if pos­si­ble, as well as the di­rec­tion of travel and a de­scrip­tion of the driver. The caller need not leave his or her name. Im­por­tant Num­bers

Cara Tran­si­tion House for abused women and chil­dren: 256-7707, 1-877-800-CARA (2272). Gan­der & Area Food Bank: 6513663 (FOOD).

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Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)

Poi­son Con­trol & Emer­gen­cies: 256-5552.

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Vic­to­rian Or­der of Nurses (VON): 256-4039.

Can­cer In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice: 1-888939-3333 (toll-free, Mon­day to Fri­day, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.) Cana­dian Red Cross, Gan­der Ser­vice Cen­tre: 175 Roe Ave, Phone: 256-2386 Fax: 256-3975 Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety, 9 Pin­sent Drive, Grand Falls-Wind­sor: 1-709489-5822.

Cana­dian Para­plegic As­so­ci­a­tion, Fraser Mall, Gan­der, 1-709-2567077.

Thy­roid Foun­da­tion: 1-800-2678822, 256-3073 or 256-7687. Gambo & Area Em­ploy­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, Gan­der Divi­sion: 2567516.

Men­tal Health Cri­sis Help Line: 737-4668 or 1-888-737-4668

FILE PHOTO

The re­sults of a na­tional sur­vey by State Farm Canada in­di­cate 20 per cent of New­found­land and Labrador driv­ers are not con­fi­dent that they would know how to avoid a col­li­sion with a moose.

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