Speed up or slow down for moose?

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Anchorage moose - Law Office of Jennifer Messick LawIn the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons, the lovable and goofy moose often finds himself getting smashed, squashed, and squeezed in an array of hilarious and unlikely situations.

In real life, however, many Alaskans know that moose aren’t so lovable and durable, often meeting the front of a car or truck on the road.

There is a common belief in Anchorage and around the state that accelerating to hit a moose (if it can’t be avoided, of course) is safer than slowing down. Where this idea came from, we’re not sure, but we recently found an article from Mythbusters that debunks this theory.

Apparently, the theory attributes this “safer practice” to the idea that speeding up could launch the moose’s body over the car, instead of through the windshield.

To test this theory, the Mythbusters constructed a 6-foot-tall, 620-pound solid rubber moose (no real moose were harmed in this test). The moose didn’t have antlers, since females don’t have them anyway and bulls shed them in the winter.

Even without the world-famous headgear, the rubber moose (or any moose) can wreck a car with its immense size. The Mythbusters drove a car traveling 45 miles per hour at the moose-replica three times (once slowing down, once maintaining 45 miles per hour, and once speeding up).

The results from the test showed that slowing down before impact was clearly the safest option. Speeding up causes a greater force of impact, which the moose absorbs and transfers back to the car with a more powerful smash.

Everyone in Anchorage and around our great state should keep an eye out for these beautiful animals when behind the wheel. If you are in the unfortunate circumstance of meeting one with your car or truck, try to remember to slow down in the split seconds before impact; doing so could save the life of the moose and yourself.

Bullwinkle may be able to walk away from collisions unscathed, but many of Alaska’s moose aren’t so lucky. I ask that everyone in Anchorage and around the state drive with caution to preserve yourself, your passengers, you car, and of course, Bullwinkle’s beloved cousins.

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About Jenn Messick

I am an attorney practicing at M/V Alaska Law, an Anchorage, AK law firm helping clients all throughout Alaska navigate legal issues in divorce, family law, probate, and bankruptcy. I'm an outdoors person who enjoys hiking, skiing, hunting, spending time with family, and the beautiful scenery in Alaska. Jenn Messick's Google+ Profile

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