For commercial carriers

Winter weather and icy road conditions can increase the chance of crashes and injuries. Every employer operating commercial vehicles needs to have a health and safety program that includes measures to help protect their employees who drive in winter. Learn more about winterizing your road safety procedures, and making sure your vehicles and drivers are prepared for winter.

Tips for employers

Winter is not business as usual. The number of crashes in BC increases 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 plan ahead and prepare with measures to reduce winter driving risks. Waiting until the season arrives is too late.

For commercial carriers, a crucial first step is to make sure you’re meeting your occupational road safety responsibilities. During winter, you need to pay particular attention to:

Training for you, your supervisors and your drivers
Tire and chain requirements

Doing that will not only reduce the likelihood of any of your employees being involved in a crash causing serious injuries, it can also help you:

  • Identify and remedy unsafe vehicles, equipment or practices conditions before they cause costly downtime or contribute to a crash
  • Dispatch drivers and vehicles more efficiently
  • Reduce time at roadside inspections and avoid regulatory penalties
  • Attract and retain safe and satisfied drivers

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. Have a conversation with your employer and ask for training and make sure you understand and follow your organization’s winter driving policy and procedures.

Check weather and road conditions on 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:

Winterize your pre-trip inspections
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 can occur anytime and anywhere especially if you are driving too fast for the conditions. 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
  • Entering a corner too fast

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 vehicles with a Licensed Gross Vehicle Weight (LGVW) between 5,000 kg and 11,794 kg need to 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.

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

Drivers of heavy commercial vehicles are required to chain up when lights are flashing on chain-up signs or when overhead message signs specify a chain-up is in effect. The DriveBC website also shows routes where chain-up requirements are in place.

Failure to follow the requirements may result in your vehicle being turned back from its intended route and your driver being fined under the BC Motor Vehicle Act.

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:


Online Course

Winter Driving Safety for Employers and Supervisors

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

Loss of traction can occur anytime and anywhere in winter. Use this brochure to learn how to avoid skids, spinning out, and general loss of traction.

Winter hazards poster 8.5×11

Drivers need to recognize winter hazards. Share this poster to remind drivers how to reduce their risks.

Winter hazards poster 11×17

Drivers need to recognize winter hazards. Share this poster to remind drivers how to reduce their risks.
Tip Sheet

Winter Tips for Truck Drivers

Whether you are a new or seasoned driver, winter roads can be dangerous. Use these driving tips to help you prepare and stay safe at work.
Tip Sheet

Winter Tips for Log Haulers

Winter roadways offer the ultimate challenge – and danger. Use these tips to help prepare and drive safely in winter conditions.

Do I Stay or Do I Go? Plan Your Trip for a Safe Winter Ride brochure

A safe trip begins with a plan. It helps you get home safe. Use this brochure to prepare, and plan your trip, before you get behind the wheel.

See and Be Seen in Winter Conditions brochure

Visibility can be limited in winter rain, ice, snow, and fog. Use this brochure’s tips to improve visibility and help other motorists see you.

Chaining Up: A Guide for Professional Drivers

Drivers need to know when and how to properly install chains. Use this guide to meet legal requirements and keep yourself safe.

Reading the Road in Winter Conditions brochure

Winter roads can be slippery. Use this brochure’s tips to anticipate hazardous conditions and adjust your driving in cold, rain, ice, and snow.
Tailgate Meeting Guide

Winter Driving Safety

Use this guide to lead a discussion with employees about anticipating and safely responding to winter road conditions.