(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) –Alaska drivers are urged to use extra caution right now when traveling roadways in Southcentral, Interior and other regions where moose are common. Long nights and short, often dimly lit winter days make the animals especially difficult to spot, increasing the danger of moose-vehicle collisions.
“The majority of our road kills occur during the winter months,” said Kenai Area Wildlife Biologist Jeff Selinger. “Decreased visibility due to lack of daylight, icy roads, and moose movement patterns all contribute to the increased collision rates we see at this time of year.”
Visibility hazards are further compounded when accumulating snow forces moose into lowland areas, often around highway corridors where travel is easier and food sources more exposed.
The combination can be deadly for moose and motorists alike. Drivers are sometimes injured and even killed when vehicles traveling at normal highway speeds collide with the animals which may weigh between 500 and 900 pounds. Two people died in October in separate Anchorage area moose-vehicle collisions.
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities advises motorists to be aware that wildlife may be near roadways during the winter and to drive cautiously – particularly during periods of darkness – and according to road and weather conditions. Make sure vehicles are properly equipped for winter driving and that headlights and taillights are clean and in good working order.
To help prevent collisions with moose, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) suggest drivers practice the following safe winter driving habits:
Motorists involved in or who witness moose-vehicle collisions should call Alaska State Troopers. Injured moose should be reported to the nearest ADF&G office during normal business hours, or to the troopers outside normal business hours.
For more information, see the ADF&G webpage, “Driving in Moose Country” at adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=livewith.drivingmoosecountry and the DOT&PF “Winter Driving Tips” webpage at dot.alaska.gov/winter_driving_tips.shtml. For updated traveler information call 511, sign up for alerts, or visit 511.alaska.gov.
ADF&G’s Division of Wildlife Conservation is dedicated to conserving and enhancing Alaska's wildlife and habitats to provide for a wide range of public uses and benefits.
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 237 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, more than 5,600 miles of highway and 776 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”
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