As the seasons change, the driving challenges change as well. As Canada transitions into winter, we have fewer hours of daylight, which inevitably means more night driving. Driving at night presents it’s own hazards at the best of times, but during the winter months, these hazards greatly increase. Many areas in Canada use road salt to retard the buildup of ice and snow, but the use of salt has one major drawback, in that it attracts the wildlife that will stand on or beside the road and lick the road to get the salt! Through the centuries, nature has adapted these animals, especially moose to a darker coat to make them less visible to predators, and almost impossible for us to see at night. Travelling at night, when there is next to no traffic on a remote highway, like highway 11 between Longlac and Hearst there is a very high probability of encountering wild life on the road. Even if you don’t see them, they’re still there. They will often see or hear an approaching truck and head back into the bush. Younger might not view the oncoming truck as a danger until you get very close. Then they become spooked, and it’s anyone’s guess what they’ll do. They may bolt back to the trees, or they may bolt right into your path. Older moose that have been spooked may actually drop their head and charge an oncoming truck to show their dominance. This never ends well for the moose, and usually the truck pays the price as well. My best advice for night driving in moose country is to avoid night driving if at all possible, or keep the night driving to a minimum. When you do have to drive at night, slow down. By dropping even 8 km/h, you’re giving yourself more reaction time if you come upon a moose,’or any other hazard on the road. It also gives the animal more time to make its escape. One other road hazard that will sneak up on you at night is road kill. It can be almost impossible to see until you’re literally in top of it.
So be careful out there this winter season.