Much of Newfoundland’s beauty and best-kept secrets are spread over a vast area, with few transportation options but driving. Though you may take a tour or charter bus to visit various places on the island, it is likely you may either drive your own vehicle to the province or rent one during your stay.
As with driving in any new area, you may find some things are new and different than what you’re used to, though driving in Newfoundland is relatively simple.
One thing that you should be aware of on Newfoundland highways is moose. They are huge, can appear suddenly on roads, and cause serious or even fatal collisions every year.
History of Moose in Newfoundland
Though moose are not native to the island of Newfoundland, they have become a synonymous with the province’s identity. Just 4 moose were introduced to the island in the early 1900s with the intent of attracting hunters to the interior area of Newfoundland and also provide a source of food. It turns out that moose and Newfoundland were a match made in heaven, and so their population thrived, growing to over 100,000. Weighing in at as much as 1200-pounds, these giants pose a hazard to motorists on Newfoundland highways.
Be Moose Aware
It’s entirely possible to travel the entire island of Newfoundland and not see a single moose, however, dozens of moose-vehicle collisions occur on the province’s roads each year.
Moose can wander or run onto highways unexpectedly, therefore it is crucial to drive defensively, scan the road at all times, and be aware of your surroundings.
Due to their unpredictable nature, if you see a moose near a roadway, it is important to slow down and turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers. While a moose may seem far from the road, it could dart into traffic without notice, causing a serious or fatal accident. Proceed with caution and only increase speeds again once you are sure that the moose is behind you.
Some areas display signs in areas where moose are known to frequent, however, moose can be spotted in any area, even if there are no signs.
There is no need to be stressed or nervous about driving in Newfoundland. Thousands of people drive on the province’s highways daily without even seeing a moose, but it is important to keep your guard up as you drive – which should go without saying anywhere in the world!
Always give your full attention to the road, drive defensively, and pay attention to signage. Be extra cautious and reduce speeds if traveling the highways at night.
For more moose safety information, view the Moose Advisory page from the Government of Newfoundland.
Other Newfoundland Driving Safety Tips
Some other things you’ll want to keep in mind for your journeys in Newfoundland:
- Speed signs are posted in Km/h since Canada uses the metric system.
- There are strict laws against impaired driving and distracted driving. Put away your phone while driving or have a passenger operate it for you.
- Being near water, fog is common in many parts of Newfoundland. This greatly reduces visibility and therefore you should lower your speed if driving in fog.
- Plan your refueling stops. The island of Newfoundland is large with great distances between some gas stations.
- Newfoundland has a “move over” law requiring drivers to slow down and move over to the left lane if a vehicle or emergency responder is on the side of the road.
In case during this article you wondered what a moose tastes like. Why not try some during your visit?
To help keep the moose population in check, the province issues thousands of moose hunting licenses each year. You won’t have to go far to try a delicious moose burger, sausage, or even moose nachos! Be sure to check the menu or ask at your next restaurant visit for moose and other special Newfoundland dishes!
Looking to do your own moose hunt? There are companies available who offer moose hunting packages which may interest you!