Commercial carriers

Employers operating commercial vehicles need to have a health and safety program that includes measures to ensure the safety of their employees who drive for work in winter.  Winter weather and icy road conditions can increase the chance of crashes and injuries. Learn more about winterizing your road safety policies and procedures to help protect commercial drivers.


Tips for employers

Winter is not business as usual. The number of crashes increases in BC when temperatures drop and snow, ice, rain, or fog hit. Trucks can spin out in as little as 1 cm of snow. When commercial vehicles crash or slide off the road, their size can make the consequences catastrophic.

As an employer or supervisor, you need to prepare and plan ahead for winter’s challenges. Waiting until the season arrives is too late.

 It’s critical that every commercial operator meets or exceeds their legal responsibilities. In addition to reducing the likelihood of a crash that may result in a serious injury, it can help you:

  • Identify unsafe equipment or conditions that may contribute to a crash
  • Dispatch drivers and vehicles more efficiently
  • Reduce time at roadside inspections if a vehicle is stopped
  • Avoid regulatory penalties
Tire and chain requirements
Training and education

Tips for commercial drivers

Whether you’re a new driver or an experienced one, winter driving can be dangerous. Avoid driving during extreme weather and road conditions if possible. Ask your employer for training and make sure you understand and follow your organization’s winter driving policy and procedures.

Check weather and road conditions on DriveBC.ca to help create a trip plan. Identify rest stops and chain-up areas along the way. Talk with your supervisor, dispatcher, and other drivers for information before heading out.

Review our section for winter drivers and these additional tips specifically for commercial driving:

Complete a pre-trip inspection
Check your diesel
Adjust your headlights during snowfall
Adapt your driving
Make sure you’re visible if you stop
Prevent slips and falls

Traction and skids

Traction loss and skidding can occur anytime and anywhere during winter. The most common causes of traction loss are:

  • Over-braking, which can lock up the wheels
  • Over-steering, which can cause the back end of the vehicle to slide out
  • Over-acceleration, which can cause the drive wheels to spin
  • Driving too fast for the conditions

Here’s how you can keep traction and reduce the risk of skids:

Check your tires
Load your cargo properly
Reduce your speed
Park correctly on hills

What to do in a skid

If you lose traction and start to skid or slide, the best way to recover control depends on the type of skid you’re in:

Drive axle skid
Steering axle skid
Steering and drive axle skid

You can find all of these tips in our Get a Grip When Driving in Winter Conditions guide (PDF 2MB).


Chaining up

Commercial trucks weighing between 5,000 kg and 11,794 kg GVW must carry chains or acceptable traction devices, unless the vehicle is equipped with winter rated tires with the 3-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol or the M+S symbol.

Commercial vehicles 11,794 kg GVW and greater, such as tractor trailers, are required to carry steel chains on most major highways.

You need to use chains, or other traction devices, when lights are flashing on designated chain-up routes or overhead message signs specify a chain-up is in effect. DriveBC lists commercial chain requirements too.

Failure to follow the regulations may result in you being turned back or fined under the BC Motor Vehicle Act. The vehicle may also be turned back from the route.

Know before you go
Why it’s important to chain up
When you need to chain up
Where to chain up safely
Protect yourself – follow safe work practices
Advice for driving safely with chains

For more information, please visit:


Resources

Online Course

Winter Driving Safety for Employers and Supervisors Online Course

Learn how to plan, implement, and monitor a winter driving safety program in your organization using Shift into Winter resources, including policy and procedures templates.
Tool Kit

Driving for the Conditions

No matter how much experience you have, driving in snow, rain, fog, or icy conditions can be treacherous. Use our tips to help you and your passengers get home safe.
Get a Grip When Driving in Winter Conditions brochure
PDF 2MB
Winter hazards poster 8.5×11
PDF 449KB
Winter hazards poster 11×17
PDF 1MB
Winter Tips for Truck Drivers
PDF 167KB
Winter Tips for Log Haulers
PDF 213KB
Do I Stay or Do I Go? Plan Your Trip for a Safe Winter Ride brochure
PDF 310KB
See and Be Seen in Winter Conditions brochure
PDF 390KB
Chaining Up: A Guide for Professional Drivers
PDF 713KB
Reading the Road in Winter Conditions brochure
PDF 275KB
Tailgate Meeting Guide: Winter Driving Safety
PDF 463KB

Shift into winter

Driving in winter has additional risks. Use our practical resources and tips to prepare drivers and vehicles for changing conditions.

Learn more