True, winter hazards such as black ice and blinding flurries don’t care whether you’re a rookie trucker or a seasoned veteran. They still hit, hit hard, and often without warning.
But there are smart winter driving techniques that come naturally with notching more and more hours on the road. That’s why we put the call out to our trucker Twitter followers and Facebook “likers” to send winter safety advice to help all those newbie truckers out there make the shift into winter.
Here’s some of what you had to say:
We were pleased to get Facebook responses from, not only truckers, but also family and friends of truckers.
There are some good words of winter wisdom here. Keen to learn more? The Winter Driving Safety Alliance put together a list of commercial trucking resources that includes winter driving safety topics specifically for truckers. Check it out – even if driving a big rig through snow storms seems like old hat. Everyone could use a refresher once in a while.
Do you have any winter driving tips for truckers? Feel free to post in the comments section below.
Page 1 of 27 comments on “Your Winter Driving Tips for New Truckers”
Watch bridge decks, they freeze up first as the cold air cools all around them faster than the road surface
A good one. Thanks Tremel!
Watch your outside temperature gauge, it’s going to tell you a lot about the road conditions to expect.
+1 to 0 to -1 is the most dangerous range.
-10 is good weather for trucking
-20 is even better
Don’t pass snowplows on the right on a 4 lane highway
Thanks Terry! Agreed!
Really it should be mandatory that big trucks must have winter tread.
I do not understand why this is so hard to do if safety is indeed number one
Thanks for your comment. The weight of commercial vehicles is so great that they wear through winter tires at an exponential rate. This is why we mandate commercial vehicles to use chains during the winter months, instead of winter tires. Hope this information is helpful.
Slowing down to 80 km/h from 100 km/h in icy conditions saved my whole family from a head-on collision at highway speed when an oncoming vehicle slid across the center line coming around a corner too fast and ended up completely in my lane facing me directly. The driver covered her face with her hands, in preparation for a collision, while I darted onto the shoulder and just barely avoided her. I quickly got back into my lane and carried on.
I never slowed down or touched the brakes, I was still at 80 when I returned to my lane. The whole scenario played out in just over 1 second.
Thanks to Emcon Road Maintenance for clearing the shoulders completely. They saved 5 lives in just that one instance.
Slowing down 10 or 20 km in winter conditions makes ALL the difference in the world.
You have WAY more control and WAY more opportunity to try to take evasive action.
I do the same in my tractor-trailer, as I did that day in my pickup. I also put on my chains at the bottom of the hill, instead of crosswise stuck in the middle of it. When conditions deteriorate to a dangerous level and are exceeding the road crew’s ability to keep on top of it, I pull over and park for a few hours to give them a chance to catch up to it. This has worked for 32 years. Nothing fancy, just sensibility.
Thank you, Derek. For your words of wisdom and your sensibility. Glad to hear you were okay – we will share this kudos with Emcon. Safe travels.
Thanks ! 😊
Are you kidding me? If you need tips and your not confident driving in winter weather you SHOULD NOT be getting a licence to drive trucks until you are. If it doesnt come naturally, get out of trucking.
Hi Shalamar Hands,
Nope, not kidding. There are some driving skills that are collected over time, and we thought this would be a great way for veteran drivers to share with newer ones. Safe travels!
I became a first class driver by listening to veterans, and I still do. The reason they share their knowledge is because I listen and I do it. That makes them happy to help.
Hear, hear, Derek! Thanks again.
When renting a 26 foot uhaul to drive from kelowna to Vancouver and back to kelowna in the Winter, and leaving on the day that it is Snowing, is it mandatory for the Uhaul company to have some sort of Winter Tires on their vehicles??
Or is it OK for them to just have plain ordinary All Season Tires without the M&S and without the 3 Peaked Mountain w/Snowflake???
I’m asking bcuz my daughter & son inlaw just rented such a Uhaul on Friday Feb 16, 2018 and have NOT been able to get back to Kelowna bcuz the NON Winterized so called All Season Tires have been Useless and Unsafe!! They can’t make it up any hills and the 26 Foot long truck just keeps spinning out or sliding!
Shouldn’t Uhaul have told these kids that since they’re driving from kelowna to Vancouver and back in the Dead of Winter & while it was already Snowing, that the truck may not make it on Hwy 97C or Hwy or the Coquihalla Hwy?
Or better yet, shouldn’t Uhaul have Supplied Proper WINTER Tires and/or Chains? Especially traveling in BC, and especially since they knew these kids were going to be traveling on BC’s Worst Hiways in the Dead of Winter and also since Uhaul only has Non Winterized All Season Tires on this 26 Foot Commercial vehicle??
This trip has cost these poor kids Hundreds of More $$$ all bcuz Uhaul didn’t put Proper Winter Tires on this vehicle, or Proper ALL Season Tires, or Supply Chains with this huge vehicle that is well over 7000lbs in GVW, not to mention how heavy the truck is now with the Contents of a 4 person home!!
These kids are New Parents of 2 very ill babes and certainly did NOT need ALL these EXTRA Expenses of having to stay in 2 Hotels bcuz the Highways are closed 2 days in a row.
Had there been Proper Winter Tires or Proper ALL Season Tires, or Chains supplied for the Non Winterized All Season Tires, maybe these kids could’ve taken a different route and got home when they planned, rather than being Forced to Charge 2 different Hotel Rooms on their already maxed out Credit Cards, that they need & use to cover Medical Expenses for their 2 very ill babes, my beautiful Grandbabies!!
* Is there any way I can find out if Uhaul is Negligent here by Not having the Proper Tires on this vehicle or if they are Negligent for Not at least Supplying Chains for the Improper All Season Tires that are on this vehicle???
I just hope the kids will be able to make it home Safely 2moro, Feb 19th 2018, and in that 26 Foot Uhaul that doesn’t have any sort of Winter Tires on it and Not even Winterized All Season Tires, bcuz not only are my Grandbabies ill, this Gramma is getting sick now and I don’t want to pass it onto my Grandbabies bcuz they are ill enough with their own health issues!
As a worried Mom, I am very disgusted with Uhaul! A Company as LARGE as it is, that has taken the absolute most ridiculous SHORTCUTS of All time by NOT providing Proper Tires of any sort on this 26 Foot Long Uhaul Moving Van.
Uhaul, from Westbank BC Canada, on Feb 16th 2018 put my Daughter and Son Inlaw’s Lives in Jeopardy!! What was supposed to be a 1 day Quick trip, has turned into a 4 day Trip From Hell that has also created alot of Stress & Worry, but Most of all, created GINORMOUS EXPENSES for an already Struggling Young Family who NOW won’t have the room on their Credit Card to Cover Medical Expenses for their 2 precious babies!!
SHAME ON YOU WESTBANK UHAUL for CUTTING CORNERS and PUTTING PEOPLE’S LIVES IN DANGER over a little bit of RUBBER!! You KNOW we love in A Province with some of Canada’s MOST DANGEROUS Highways, yet you DON’T Supply the PROPER TIRES and/or CHAINS on YOUR Rental vehicles, especially your Larger vehicles like your 26 Foot Moving Van!!
We hear your frustration and concern and think that those grandchildren couldn’t get a better Grandma.
We researched the Gross Vehicle Weight of the 26 foot U-Haul truck and it falls under the commercial vehicle weight category which means that it is not required to have winter tires. Winter tires wear out too quickly on heavier commercial vehicles – too quickly to be economically feasible. Instead this classification of vehicle is required to carry and use chains in winter driving conditions. You daughter and son in law should have been given a vehicle with chains and shown how to use them for travel in inclement weather. While we are responsible for creating the legislation around winter driving regulations, we are not responsible for enforcing those laws. We encourage you to share your concerns directly with the U-Haul itself and perhaps the BC RCMP. Here’s a link for more information on our winter tire regulations: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/driving-and-cycling/traveller-information/seasonal/winter-driving We hope that this helps.
Thank you for responding with the information.
I will tell the kids to let the rcmp know what uhaul put them thru!
It was the most horrifying trip they’d ever taken on those highways. The truck was slipping and sliding all over the place, even with the weight of all the contents from their apartment. The only reasons they risked it was bcuz 1- they wanted to get home to their babies, and 2- uhaul was charging them by the day, as well as the kms.
I just thank God they finally made it home….
With uhaul being in BC, you’d think they’d know better and not play Russian Roulette with people’s lives! They know BC has horrific highways, so why not have the trucks prepared with proper supplies (Chains) for situations such as this? It’s not only maddening, it’s sickening!!
Anyway, another snowy day in Kelowna BC. Think I’ll just stay in where it’s warm and safe!
Bye for now,
Glad to hear everyone is home and together safely Kaycee.
Responsibility lies with your daughter & son inlaw who ought to have known that one needs snow tires or chains for winter driving in BC and ought to have bought or rented some before heaed into the interior.
Only Quebec has mandated snow tires on rental vehicles in winter.
Your daughter & son inlaw ought to have done their own due dilligence about conditions before heading out and if not prepared but furniture in storage and rented a car — again having to buy or rent chains.
People really need to take responsibility for their own actions and not look for someone else or a company to blame for their own poor planning.
A great tip – thanks Margit!
I’m glad to see some of my driving habits and common sense have rubbed off on my offspring.
Once in the past I had to communicate from Vancouver to Delta and it took me over four hours on a sheet of black ice all the way. Driving cautiously and thinking ahead of when I had to stop I slowed down and geared down to coast through and around obstacles often chugging around stalled and wiped out cars. I still to this day always think that winter conditions and heavy rain equal to driving on ball bearings and drive accordingly. My motto in life is expect the unexpected and think ahead. It has always helped me deal with whatever unexpected things arrived whether sudden mudslides which delay you or unexpected happenings. My car is equipped with a snow shovel and kitty litter as well as blankets and emergency foods whenever I venture forth. Happy roading!
I’m not a trucker but I do drive a lot. In winter I try to drive as if the ground IS covered in black ice, even if it probably isn’t. Gentle turns, gentle slowing, gentle acceleration. And, if there is snow buildup between lanes, I try to avoid moving from one to another.
Thanks for the tips Bart!
Few more, after driving in moist conditions (rain, wet snow) or thru standing water, deep snow, drag your brakes to clean them up, remove moisture — they’ll grab better when you need them. In cold conditions (-10 and lower) warming them up a bit every 10mins or so also helps when getting into traffic. Giving your brakes a tap or two before slowing down (not pumping them, just tapping them) gives the brake lights a flash or two to grab following traffic’s attention also. Lastly, coming up rapidly on slow traffic or flashing lights (remember slow down move over), throwing on the hazards and alerting other traffic is a good idea. When stopping on a highway unexpectedly, hazards on, leave a full vehicle length and then watch your rearview — if someone barrels up and isn’t stopping, you have the extra space to try to maneuver out of the way or mitigate the impact.
Thanks for sharing Hardy!