MINI Cooper vs. Moose – The Lucky, But Unlikely Outcome

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Two tourists are lucky to be alive after their MINI Cooper strikes a moose in rural New Hampshire this past Memorial Day weekend.

Campton, New Hampshire is a small town on the southern edge of the White Mountain National Forest. The Pemigewasset River flows down from the White Mountains and through town. The river’s course follows interstate 93 all the way from its source in Franconia Notch until it reaches the Winnipesaukee River before becoming part of the Merrimack River and eventually finding the Atlantic Ocean.

As it winds its way south, it passes under or directly next to this and other major roadway arteries multiple times. The river is a highway for moose, and signs warn the thousands of vacationing visitors as they drive from one scenic spot to another.

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The Campton – Thornton Fire and Rescue squad reports that the Californian driver of this MINI Cooper amazingly suffered only minor injuries when it struck a moose. The passenger’s injuries were more severe, but not life-threatening. Both were taken to the hospital in nearby Plymouth, NH. Both were lucky to survive the strike.

Amy Mahler, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Environmental Police, told MassLive that the moose was a male and weighed about 800 pounds. Animal strikes take the lives of approximately 100 vehicle occupants per year in America.  

Moose strikes are less common than deer strikes but can be more deadly due to the animal’s size. As the images show clearly, the bulk of the mammal often strikes above the grill, contacting the vehicle in the A-pillar and windshield frame. Accidents can be even more deadly when the vehicle then has a secondary impact with objects at the side of the road or with another oncoming vehicle. “A majority weren’t killed by contact with the animal,” says Allan Williams, a former chief scientist with IIHS. “As in other kinds of crashes, safety belts and motorcycle helmets could have prevented many of the deaths.”

Though diminutive, the MINI Cooper is a solidly-built vehicle. It scores Good on every IIHS crash test and also the roof crush test, which is one measurement of the strength of the A-pillar and windshield frame. This is perhaps one reason two tourists in New Hampshire made it through this accident.

Image credits: Campton-Thornton NH Fire & Rescue