Winter in British Columbia can be beautiful — especially when a fresh layer of snow covers the ground. But winter also means increased safety risks when driving. Black ice, freezing temperatures, rain, snow, fog, and sudden weather changes are all hazards drivers must be prepared for.
For those who drive for work, November, December, and January are the most dangerous months of the year. Almost 28 percent of all work-related crashes that result in injury and time-loss claims occur during these three months. Truck drivers are involved in almost one-third of these crashes.
Good preparation is key to preventing crashes, injuries, damages, and delays. As a commercial driver, it’s important that you and your vehicle are prepared to face the elements before heading out onto the roads this winter.
- Check weather warnings and road conditions at drivebc.ca before you go to help you plan your route. Monitor current and forecasted conditions regularly by downloading weather apps or listening to updates on the radio, and adjust your route and schedule as needed.
- If weather or road conditions are poor, decide if you really have to go or if you can cancel or delay the trip until conditions improve. If you must travel in winter weather, educate yourself on how to manage the risks and drive for those conditions. This includes knowing how to install chains and where along your route you can pull over to install them safely.
- Leave yourself lots of time to get to your destination. Be prepared for delays.
- Dress appropriately for the weather conditions.
Prepare your vehicle
- Ensure you understand and follow the chain and winter tire requirements for your commercial vehicle. Trucks weighing between 5,000 kg and 11,794 kg LGVW must carry chains or acceptable traction devices, unless the vehicle is equipped with the proper winter-rated tires. Vehicles 11,794 kg LGVW and greater, such as tractor trailers, are required to carry steel chains on most major highways. For more details and information on what’s required for your vehicle, visit tranbc.ca
- Pay attention to the parts of your truck that are more likely to be affected by weather changes, such as wiper blades, the battery, the cooling system and hose condition, air dryers, fuel filters, and separation systems. Report any concerns to your supervisor.
- Carry a winter safety kit. Recommended items for the kit include first aid supplies, non-perishable food, blankets, flares and matches, flashlight, and extra clothing and footwear.
While this advice may seem like “Safety 101” for most drivers, keep in mind that injuries can happen to even the most experienced workers. Following proper safety procedures and taking a little extra time will help keep you safe on the road this winter.
For more information
Find health and safety resources, including three safety videos, for commercial truck drivers at worksafebc.com/transportation or worksafebc.com/pa (Punjabi). Winter driving resources, including toolkits and templates, are also available at shiftintowinter.ca.
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