Speed Up When You Hit A Moose

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Alaska Special"

Finding: BUSTED

Explanation: Alaska roads turn even more treacherous during the winter, when moose, attracted to ice-melting salt slathered on the asphalt, meander onto them. And it probably goes without saying that moose and cars don't mix well: In 2007 alone, those collisions accounted for six driver and passenger fatalities in Alaska, according to the Alaska Highway Safety Office.

Some believe that accelerating to hit a moose is safer than slowing down, because the high-speed crash might launch the beast clear over the car. MythBusters Kari Byron, Grant Imahara and Tori Belleci drove headfirst into this theory to see if it's worth its salt. To ensure that no moose were harmed in the name of science, the MythBusters constructed a 6-foot-tall, 620-pound solid rubber moose nicknamed Lucy. They didn't bother to crown her with antlers, since lady moose don't sport the horns, and the male bulls shed their headgear during the winter.

The team found that an antler-less moose can still wreck a car with the sheer force of its body weight — especially when the car barrels toward it. The MythBusters steered a car motoring at 45 miles per hour into Lucy three times: once slowing down, once speeding up and once while maintaining the same speed. The wreckage revealed that slowing down is by far the safest option when running into a moose. Faster speeds deliver a greater force of impact, which the moose absorbs and delivers with a more powerful, damaging smackdown on top of the auto.

A driver in moose territory should therefore heed the warning of the busted myth and ease up on the accelerator when one of these creatures crosses his path.

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