SALISBURY, N.B. The cold weather has arrived and the snow is about to fly and truck drivers have to take the appropriate measures to ensure a safe and productive trip.The Canadian winter, often a neme...
SALISBURY, N.B. The cold weather has arrived and the snow is about to fly and truck drivers have to take the appropriate measures to ensure a safe and productive trip.
The Canadian winter, often a nemesis for a driver, is difficult to prepare for because it can be unpredictable. However, for those whose livelihood depends on driving, snow and ice won’t keep them off the roads, so winterizing equipment and fine tuning the truck is critical.
Truck News visited the Irving Big Stop in Salisbury, N.B., to chat with drivers and see what they deem the most important things to remember while on the roads in winter.
Kevin Strong, a driver for J.W. Baughan Transport of Sackville, N.B., says his company will winterize his truck.
“I send my truck to the shop and there is a fleet of skilled mechanics that tune everything to company procedures, and when I get it back, it will be ready to go,” he says.
For Strong the most important winter driving tip is to pay attention to the conditions.
“The biggest problem on the roads in the winter is that people drive like it’s summer, they don’t slow down or leave extra time.”
Pole Star Transport Inc. O/O, Gordon Jones, says the first thing he will do is put new steer tires on his rig and then, he says, he will look into installing a secondary heating unit to avoid idling.
After preparing the truck, the Moncton driver says the biggest concern for the winter is road salt.
“I hope they don’t cut back on the road salt this winter. As much as I don’t like it getting on my truck, it is absolutely necessary.”
For James Curran of Team 21 in Toronto, Ont., a mental adjustment has to accompany the winter months.
“After 40 years of trucking, I’ve seen a lot of winters on the road, and it requires a change in the driver’s thought process. You have to become even more defensive and even more alert.”
Curran also says it is crucial that the truck be serviced properly. “It’s all about safety,” he says.
David Gagnon drives for Goodine Trucking of Grand Falls, N.B., and says the biggest thing in the winter is keeping your distance.
“It’s critical to leave some space between the cars and trucks on the roads, if everybody did that we would be better off,” he says.
Gagnon says the winter poses another problem for truckers.
“You can’t put as many miles on in the snow so truckers end up working less during the winter months.”
Winter driving is not as much of a concern for Jacques Montpetit of Hull, Que. The Atlas Van Lines driver doesn’t see a lot of snow on his routes in the southern U.S..
“I don’t see much of winter because most of the time I’m driving in the south.”