Reg­u­lar ner­vous, anx­ious about about driving at night

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE -

“ Driving at night, it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to see them,” she says. “ They blend right in with the road and trees sur­round­ing it.”

The next ac­ci­dent came five months later in Novem­ber. Driving along Vet­er­ans Memo­rial High­way just be­fore the Bay Roberts turn off, Reg­u­lar was on her way to work when she spot­ted a moose.

“ This one, I saw the moose and hit the breaks, think­ing I could clear it. But there was one right be­hind it that I never saw, so I ploughed into that one.”

On Feb. 28, Reg­u­lar was driving in the vicin­ity of Mor­gan’s Fur­ni­ture when the un­think­able hap­pened for a third time.

“I think I might have went to turn the ra­dio up or some­thing, and bam, it was just there.”

The last two ac­ci­dents were sig­nif­i­cant enough to leave the cars as in­sur­ance write-offs. To have a se­cond and third ac­ci­dent so soon af­ter the first one shocked her, says Reg­u­lar. The fact she’s avoided se­ri­ous in­jury is in­cred­i­ble, as has been noted by most of her fam­ily and friends when Reg­u­lar has re­counted her tales.

“ They say, ‘ You’re so lucky not to be hurt.’”

Fa­tal­i­ties re­sult from moose acci- dents each year, and ac­cord­ing to fig­ures ob­tained from the RCMP and the Royal New­found­land Con­stab­u­lary by the Save Our Peo­ple Ac­tion Com­mit­tee, moose-re­lated ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents have been on the rise over the last two years.

There were over 700 ac­ci­dents recorded in both 2009 and 2010, ac­cord­ing to data made pub­lic by the com­mit­tee, which has been ad­vo­cat­ing for mea­sures to re­duce the num­ber of ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing ve­hi­cles and moose. By com­par­i­son, the av­er­age num­ber of ac­ci­dents per year from 2000-08 was 455.

There is no hard fig­ure on the num­ber of moose in New­found­land and Labrador, though its pop­u­la­tion is es­ti­mated to be be­tween 120,000 and 150,000.

One con­cern Reg­u­lar has about lo­cal roads — and it’s an is­sue that has been dis­cussed across the prov­ince — is the amount of brush along­side them, which can help keep moose hidden un­til they ap­pear on the road.

“ You can barely see them when they hop up on the road,” she says, adding work to clear sec­tions along­side the Vet­er­ans Memo­rial High­way has been of ben­e­fit to drivers.

“ But the old high­ways are still treed-in on each side.”

Reg­u­lar won­ders whether an in­crease in moose li­cences may help the sit­u­a­tion. In 2010, the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment in­creased the num­ber of li­cences granted to com­mu­ni­tybased groups from 150 in 2009 to 200, and ap­prox­i­mately 30,000 li­cences are is­sued an­nu­ally.

“And we’d all love to see a fence put up,” she says, re­fer­ring to pro­posed bar­ri­ers stretch­ing along the sides of high­ways, “ but you know that’s quite ex­pen­sive.”

For her sake, and given what she has been through over the last year, Reg­u­lar will now be ex­tra cau­tious driving at night. But it will never be easy.

“I will be more anx­ious and ner­vous about driving. I’m sure I will be.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.