It’s fall. Time to change the clock. Time to change your wardrobe. Time to change y ...
Summer is over. It’s fall and the weather can turn pretty quickly. You could be travelling under blue skies and drive right into a storm, especially when you’re heading into the mountains. Are you ready for sudden changes in driving conditions, with fog, ice, slush, fallen leaves, and maybe even snow?
As our days get shorter, vacations are over, and school is back in session, the roads are busier; a reminder of fall driving practices is in order.
Know before you go
Check road and weather conditions often, including road cams and construction zones, at DriveBC or by calling 1-800-550-4997. Get a heads-up on the weather at the points along your route by checking out the forecast from Environment and natural resources.
Look out for leaves
Remember that wet leaves on the roadside can be very slippery. They can even freeze if the temperature drops overnight. Leaves on the roadway can also cover road markings and hide bumps and potholes. This doesn’t just affect tire traction; it also affects footwear.
Prevent slips and falls outside the cab
Be prepared for slippery surfaces when you enter and exit your vehicle or climb up or down on your trailer. Always maintain three-point contact, which means three of your four limbs are always in contact with the vehicle or trailer—two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand. Falls from (or outside) vehicles are one of the most frequent injuries to commercial drivers.
Stay safe when you have to stop on the roadside
Trucks stopped on the roadside must be as visible as possible so drivers can slow down. This is important all year round, but especially in fall when dusk comes earlier. Drivers approaching at high speed or coming around a corner will have limited time to react to a stopped truck, even in a cone zone. Commercial trucking employers need to ensure that drivers have job-specific training to set up a safe work zone on the side of the road. Drivers need appropriate personal protective equipment, such as high-visibility vests, and trucks need proper safety equipment, including a safety triangle, cones, emergency lights, and flares.
Carry chains and know how to use them
Chaining up is a skill required by new commercial drivers and seasoned drivers new to traversing the high elevations of B.C.’s mountain passes. And even those with plenty of experience with chains can benefit from a refresher.
Employers have a legal duty to provide instruction to employees on how to safely install chains.
The best time to do this is before you need them. BC’s Commercial Vehicle Chain Requirements state that commercial trucks (weighing more than 11,794 kg) must carry chains from October 1 to April 30.
Get ready for changing weather, because winter is on its way!
Cooler mornings signal the changing season. They also mean carriers and their teams w ...
ill need to change the way they work each day.
During the summer months, water cooler talk about seasonal driving is more about heat and less about mud at job sites or slippery road conditions. In autumn, shorter days mean darker mornings and the likelihood of hazards such as frost, ice, or mud in the yard or on equipment and trailer decks. Before you know it, winter will be here and it will be past the time for preparing.
An old saying tells us, “If you fail to prepare you are preparing to fail.” Carriers need to prepare for autumn and how it will impact their business. The most important message a carrier can share with their drivers is that their safety is the top priority. It is important that carriers make operational changes to ensure drivers are protected so they can continue to do a good job.
Little things can make a big difference. Carriers and drivers should look ahead—literally. With darker mornings and evenings, the work site may look different in autumn than summer. Inspect areas where hazards could occur to identify risks and create a plan to correct them. If there are noticeable dark areas in the yard where trucks will be loading and unloading, consider installing a light. Other potential hazards to fix include tripping hazards, such as holes in the ground or pieces of leftover dunnage. Take the time to correct hazards while the weather is still good. It’s an investment in safety.
Autumn also means the change to standard time and some short-term side effects. The time change is a bit easier in the fall than in the spring, but studies have found that people also experience a physical effect when we turn the clocks back. You may feel a bit sluggish for a week or so, possibly because disrupting the sleep cycle causes hormone levels to change. That listless feeling can make people lose their focus; statistics show an increase in pedestrian fatalities during the first few weeks of the return to standard time. Some researchers suggest that drivers and pedestrians, after months with more light during their morning commute, don’t adjust their behaviour right away when they have less light. Traffic accidents are more likely to happen in the dark.
The autumn time change can also cause depression or make it worse, a huge hazard for professional drivers. And, according to a Finnish study, the chance of having a stroke increases about 8% over the first two days after we switch from daylight saving time. This is because sleep protects us against stroke and when we mess with our sleep, we disrupt that protection.
Regardless of which time zone you’re operating in, time impacts a carrier’s operation. Routine tasks, such as loading a trailer, can take longer to complete safely when you’re not at your best. It’s always important that carriers ensure drivers are able to complete their tasks safely by supporting driver training.
One important task that may come up in the fall (in certain regions) is putting on tire chains. Drivers need to know how to chain up and how many chains they need for their vehicle(s). The best time to learn, or review how to put tire chains on, is before you need to do it. In British Columbia, between October 1 and April 30, vehicles registered over 11,794 KG must carry tire chains. Note that these must be steel chains on most major highways.
Whatever the time, don’t rush. Do the job safely, even if it takes a few extra minutes. Operational change required to meet changing seasons is a good topic for a safety meeting or toolbox talk.