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Travels of a Trucker Special Report

August 30, 2012

Well as I travel along BC and Alberta I can’t fail but notice how traffic is dwindling along the highways. As another Summer comes to close and I watch the outside temperature gauge in my truck alerting me to the outside temperature, I can also see for myself how quickly the temperature outside is dropping rapidly with each passing day. Summer of course is highlighted with the fact that there is so much traffic on the highways. It is busy day and night. Most noticeably marked with RV’s and camper trailers by day and Truckers by night trying to get around with less traffic to deal with. Sometimes I talk to myself in the middle of the night and make little jokes in my mind calling it “Night of the Living Trucker” when there is a host of trucks and one little four wheeler in between all the massiveness.

But between it all the point and the fact remains that the temperatures are dropping. As a matter of fact, had there been any moisture on the Mountain outside of Merritt last night, everyone would have been plowing through the “White stuff”. I watched yesterday as my temperature gauge dropped to 2.5 degrees Celcius. As everyone knows water freezes at 0 degrees. So any moisture in the air would have resulted in Snow. As it stands now, I am sure by next week, we could start seeing snow on either the 97c or Highway 5.

So with Winter coming this is a special reminder that as Winter approaches we always need to be prepared. This means removing our Summer tires and replacing them with All Season tires or Winter Tires. It means carrying a set of Chains around and if you drive a commercial truck within BC you are required to have chains from October 1st to April 30th. Other things are to make sure you carry a blanket, some dehydrated foods like a trail mix, a flashlight with spare batteries, road flares or triangles, waterproof matches, a First Aid Kit and other emergency supplies. You never know when your vehicle may break down. It could be in the middle of the mountains or it could be on a logging road, or it could be off road. Whichever the case, your vehicle may not start and it may start getting very cold, very fast in your vehicle. Being prepared is the best defense.

Most of us already know that during the first few weeks of the oncoming Winter months is the worst time for Black Ice. Black Ice is a result of Cool morning temperatures and late night temperatures when there is moisture in the low areas that freezes over. You may well typically find Black Ice in areas where it is cold, but there is no snow present and the air is humidified. This is very much something to watch out for. Don’t be fooled by the name “Black Ice”. It is Ice and you can see it. It will be very shiny, smooth and there are a few things to notice. If the road has been wet you will be able to see a spray or a mist coming from your tires. If you suddenly don’t see that anymore, you may be travelling on ice. If you apply brake pressure and you notice the car continues on or starts to goo sideways, you are surely on Black Ice and the best defense is a good offense. Steer in the direction you want to go and continue to apply light throttle pressure to increase wheel friction. This does 2 things, it prevents you from sliding completely out of control and it allows that wheel to catch any pavement that has not been iced over. As you regain control of your vehicle you can let gravity slow down your inertia by removing throttle pressure lightly and applying gentle braking pressure to slow yourself down.

There is obviously so much more I could say on this subject, but I know many of you have probably encountered these situations through experience. Stay safe, drive safe and continue to be aware of your surroundings.




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