"There was usually no other traffic - seeing another car was a rarity.".
Not that surprising, the density of people in northern Finland (Lapland) is 1.98/km² (98 984,36 km², 183 775p (year 2009)).
With that population density the UK, 242,495 km2 would have a population of some 480.000 persons.
I spent 2 week tracking and fishing in a group of eight years ago, we did not meet an other soul during that time.
PS. it's not the winter freezing but the spring thaw that breaks things, a never ending problem even on the best roads at times.