Commercial trucker hits 1st moose, says seeing more this year than last

Dave King has been a commercial driver traversing the Trans-Canada Highway in western Newfoundland for more than 15 years, and in that time he’s seen plenty of moose, but never hit one.

Until this summer.

King was driving along White’s Road outside Stephenville after 11 p.m. on Aug. 18 when a moose abruptly appeared. 

“Fortunately I was on a highway with a bit of a lower speed limit, it’s 80 [km/h], so I wasn’t going too fast. But I saw a small cow starting to come out of the ditch and just locked on my brakes immediately, but still managed to hit her,” King said.

“I’m a big animal lover and I’m not a hunter, so I did feel bad, but it was really kind of out of my hands. So what can you do?”

Just slow down.– Dave King

In the moments before he hit the animal, King said his first thoughts were of safety.

“I don’t like to cause damage to my boss’s truck, so that was paramount, and second of all I have my dog as a passenger, I didn’t want to send her flying by the sudden stop, but I knew the impact was coming — there was no doubt,” he said.

“I was within what I would consider an acceptable speed — I was probably doing 85 — I had all my high beams on, I keep my windshield area clean. It’s just one of those things.”

‘Hope for the best’

As a professional commercial driver who has been behind the wheel of a transport truck for 12 years, King said he knew the safest course of action was to keep his vehicle straight, despite the moose.

“We’re told to stay in our lane, don’t try to swerve and avoid it because that could lead to a potential rollover, leading to more damage and potentially injuring me,” he told CBC Newfoundland Morning.

“Hit the brakes, and really hope for the best. Sometimes the moose can scurry out of the way in time, but this time it didn’t work out that way.”

King said he’s been noticing more moose on the highway this summer than previous years, and it seems like his fellow truck drivers are, too.

“I’m on a Facebook page for the Newfoundland trucker group and people have stated that between Grand Falls and the Howley Junction or Deer Lake, they’ve counted 30 to 40 a night,” King said.

“When I was on the Northern Peninsula, I remember counting, I think, 17 in one day between the park and Hawkes Bay.”

King thinks this summer’s heat may be contributing to the increased number of moose he’s noticed on the roads.

One particularly busy spot is the TCH between Deer Lake and the Baie Verte turnoff, King said, and being vigilant while driving in the dark on the province’s highways can be taxing.

“I find it very mentally draining,” King said. “You’re constantly scanning, and by the end of a trip you’re very tired.”

King said he was fairly safe in a transport truck, but added hitting his first moose may make him a bit more cautious.

“I don’t do a whole lot of night driving in my pickup, but I would say I could picture me dropping a few kilometres an hour off my speed,” he said, adding that taking your speed down a notch or two can make a big difference.

“Just slow down. You can really improve your braking distance by dropping 10 kilometres an hour and you’re really only adding minutes to your trip and your life, or a new life in a wheelchair, for the sake of a few minutes? Really not that much of a comparison.”

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

Commercial trucker hits 1st moose, says seeing more this year than last

Aggregated from: CBC | Newfoundland and Labrador News

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