Hazards of Elk, Moose & Rocks
Seriously? Animals and rocks. Yes. Here’s why. Anyone who spends enough time on the roads in mountainous areas has had car encounters with animals or falling rocks.
I didn’t believe the animal part until a herd of elk ran across the road and struck my car. I was lucky. The car could drive, and I was uninjured. So was the elk, for the record. This was during my GNASA, in Southern Colorado. Most of my mountain friends have had similar encounters.
Rocks are on every mountain road. You hope the big ones you can see and avoid, and the ones you can’t, small enough not to cause damage. When enough rocks and other debris slide down the mountain its called an avalanche.
When you’re on a GNASA the last thing you want is a damaged or inoperable vehicle. You can’t ski or travel toward your next destination when you’re vehicle isn’t moving.
Problems With Animals & Rocks
- Damage your car
- Block the road
Expert Tips On Avoiding Animals, Rocks & Avalanches
Sometimes your best option is to slow down. At slower speeds you see more, and avoid more. It also helps with reaction time. A millisecond or two can make the difference between hitting and avioiding rocks and animals.
Drive During the Day
I cannot overemphasize how much easier it is to drive during the day than at night. You can see more. Roads are better tended. In addition, animals are often less active in the daytime. Herds mostly move at night.
Avoid Known Avalanche Areas
This sounds a bit extreme, but during storms and bad weather, risks of avalanches go way up. In the mountains, you’ll often have multiple road options. I’ve avoided high passes known to be susceptible to avalanches. If it’s an extra hour or so, and avalanche danger is high, why take the risk? If your time is precious and powder is awaiting you, an extra hour drive is worth the extra time.