Winter Driving Tips for Truck Drivers in Canada

Truck driving can be an exciting job especially if you like working independently, traveling to new places, and exploring new locations. There has been a shortage of truck drivers in Canada given the numerous challenges faced by the trucking industry. Driving trucks in the Canadian winter poses an entirely new set of challenges. The mixture of cold weather and wet or icy roads can create dangerous conditions such as reduced visibility or traction. Awareness about safety measures and tips is critical for truck drivers especially because they are going to handle large, heavy machinery in such harsh weather conditions.

You need to practice safety habits and prepare for your delivery trips keeping in mind that the weather will make things on the road particularly hard. Being prepared for emergencies or any other contingencies will always help you stay safe without affecting your work adversely. The following tips will help you make your deliveries safely and on time by navigating through the icy, cold weather.

Tips to help you prepare before you start your trip:

  1. Check Weather Conditions

    The first important step you can take before your trip is to take stock of the weather conditions on your route. It is always best to know what you need to prepare for so that you are not caught by surprise in case of a blizzard or even a road shutdown. Once your trip starts, make sure to stay up-to-date with the changing weather conditions and road closures by checking the GPS so you can be prepared for taking alternative routes and reach your destination safely. We tell our students to develop a habit of checking the weather during the our truck driver training in Edmonton .

  2. Truck Inspection

    Inspection of your truck before you start your trip is the most significant part of your preparation as it can help you in preventing most mishaps. During the winter, besides your regular inspection, it is particularly important to check your tires, batteries, working blades, fluid levels, exhaust pipe, lights, and defrosters. Even after inspecting your truck, if you feel like your truck requires any auxiliary work, it is important to make sure that you do so before your trip rather than delay it. You can also try to digitize your paperwork to prevent your paperwork from getting damaged in the cold, wet weather.

  3. Stock Emergency Supplies

    Emergency supplies are integral for your preparation for truck driving during winters in Canada. Try to make sure that you have all the necessary emergency equipment and supplies so that you are prepared for almost every possible situation. Prepare a list of supplies and make sure to include the following items in it: an ice scraper to clear ice from your windscreens, a shovel and a bag of salt or sand in case some minor roads are not gritted, a flashlight, a warm blanket, extra warm clothes along with stocks of food and water in case you get stranded, a high-visibility jacket. Make sure you always carry jump cables and in case your truck does not start or you need to help someone else start their truck. Also, always travel with at least half a tank of gas because you never know when you might need to change to an alternative, longer route.

    Tips to keep in mind during your trip:

  4. Drive Safely

    Driving on icy, wet roads poses a challenge to even the most experienced truck drivers. Following are some important tips given by professional truck driving instructors to keep in mind while driving in winter:

    • Do not drive too fast and always keep a consistent speed so that you can maneuver easily in situations which might require sudden changes.
    • Slow down and always remember that maintaining your speed below the speed sign is always a good idea as braking on icy roads is always difficult.
    • During winter, always maintain a stopping distance that is ten times the normal stopping distance as trucks require more time to stop than cars do.
    • Drive as smoothly as you can as sudden movements and sharp turns may lead to losing the control of your truck.
    • Hard braking and acceleration also decrease traction so try to avoid the same.
  5. Make Use of Lights

    Visibility can be a hindrance to your driving, especially during winters. Clear snow from your lights and tractor trailers. Always keep your headlights on so that other drivers can see your truck and keep a safe distance from it. Use your hazard lights in case you feel uncomfortable and choose to drive slower than other drivers. Also, always use your turn signals and be aware of any rules followed by truck drivers in your areas with regards to turn signals.

  6. Be Cautious and Safe

    While getting in and out of your truck, make sure you have a firm grip on the vehicle steps. Wear boots with a good grip and always be careful while walking on the snow to avoid slips and falls. Wear a high-visibility jacket when there are visibility issues on your route. Approach bridges and other elevated structures carefully to avoid losing control of your truck. Sometimes, the weather conditions might become too harsh for you to continue driving. In such a scenario, do not hesitate to stop. Try to find and drive carefully to the closest place near you like a gas station and wait for the weather to improve.

    While truck driving might be a difficult job, it is particularly hard in the winter. The weather conditions pose numerous challenges to truck drivers. Prepare for your trips based on the weather conditions on your route and always carry emergency aid. Also, keep in mind the above-mentioned tips before you plan your next truck driving trip as they will help you in navigating through the harsh Canadian winters and have a safe trip.