Winter is coming. It’s never too early to get ready.
With COVID capturing so much of our attention these days, it’s easy to forget that autumn is here and winter weather is just around the corner. Although chain-up season in BC starts on October 1, you could encounter winter weather at any time, so it’s not too soon to prepare yourself and your truck.
Start by checking your tires. Shift into Winter, a campaign of the Winter Driving Safety Alliance, recommends that drivers check tires before and during every winter trip. Tire pressure as well as tread depth and wear are all vital to operating the vehicle safely.
All commercial drivers need to be familiar with chain-up regulations, and understand when and how to use chains . Make sure yours are correct for your tires, are in good condition, and are stored properly. If you don’t already know how to install chains safely, get help now, before you have to use them. Even if you just need a refresher, practising today could save you some miserable fumbling in freezing temperatures later. The short video Installing Winter Tire Chains on a Commercial Vehicle provides a great overview.
Be aware that batteries die faster in cold weather, so make sure your truck’s is in top condition. Your window defrosters and cab heater may also require servicing before they begin working overtime during the next few months.
Be prepared for the unexpected. It’s a good idea to stock up on items you may need or run out of on the road. Be sure to carry emergency supplies, such as:
• food and water
• cell phone and charger that plugs into your vehicle
• winter clothing, such as a parka, toque, mitts, thermal underwear, warm socks, insulated coveralls, winter boots
• winter tool kit that includes antifreeze suitable for your vehicle, air line anti-freeze, air brake antifreeze, ice scraper, road salt or kitty litter, shovel, traction mat, extra fuel filter
• high-vis vest
• candles and matches with a tilt-proof container for the candles
Be prepared for successful winter driving by “topping up” your winter driving skills. For example, it’s all too easy to lose traction on snowy or icy roads. Inexperienced drivers and those who just want a review will find that Shift into Winter’s Get a Grip When Driving in Winter Conditions brochure explains how to avoid losing traction and how to react if it does happen. See and Be Seen in Winter Conditions discusses the importance of visibility and provides practical steps to ensure your safety in snow, fog, and rain.
Trip planning is always a good idea, but it’s even more vital in the cold months. Know in advance where you’ll be able to fuel, chain-up/off, and pull over safely if conditions go south and you need to wait it out. Be sure you understand and can correctly follow the National Safety Code hours of service for commercial drivers in winter, which includes emergencies and adverse driving conditions.
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