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Behind the wheel of a truck … during winter!

23 January 2019

 

When our truckers are behind the wheel, they must be attentive at all times! Indeed, our truckers are often faced with many imponderables that can occur throughout the day: traffic jams, mechanical problems, and most importantly, the human factor. When we take these constraints in addition to changing winter weather conditions, our truckers can face many challenges. In order to get a more complete picture of what driving a truck during winter looks like, we interviewed one of our truckers, Michel Labonté.

What are the biggest challenges of winter driving?

One of the biggest challenges of driving during the winter is having to juggle with the human factor. Road users do not always adjust their driving to winter conditions and truckers must be able to predict their maneuvers. Therefore, truckers must adapt their behavior in the winter. They slow down the cruising speed in order to react properly.

Aside from driving, just going about our daily routine is a good challenge during the winter. For example, when the temperature drops below -15˚c, it is a little more painful to do the full inspections on the truck and trailer before leaving the terminal for the day and to clear the truck and the trailer from the accumulated snow.

What are the rules of conduct that you apply systematically in the event of a storm?

When the outside temperature is not good, for example when there is good snow accumulation on the ground or ice, it is important to slow the cruising speed and adjust the driving. Above all, it is necessary to adapt to traffic and keep a good distance in traffic jams. This allows us to have a good reaction time if an imponderable occurs, such as the loss of control of a vehicle for example.

Which advice would you give to a trucker who faces his first winter?

The best advice to give is to ask for a day of observation during a stormy day in order to see how is driving in those conditions. Also, as mentioned before, it is important to stay as far as possible from the traffic in order to have a good reaction time.

What makes your driving easier during a storm?

When there are storms, fortunately there are fewer people on the roads. So, it’s easier for driving. In addition, having good tires as well as good wipers greatly facilitates the task. Fortunately, we are well equipped on this level at Bourret!

Apart from weather conditions, what can be a challenge for your driving?

Dealing with texting and driving represents a challenge as much during the summer than during the winter … However, it is worse during the winter. Being higher, it is easy to see inside the cabin and unfortunately a large majority of road users still use their cell phone while driving. This bad habit ensures that they are not attentive to the road which leaves them with less reaction time.

Marilyn Demers by Marilyn Demers
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