5 Ways to Prepare for Safe Winter Driving

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As we approach the winter wonderland and snowy driving becomes routine, we invite you to review this information to prepare for safe winter driving:

  1. Review policy and procedures: Review policies and procedures with employees. Make sure your guidelines cover everyone who drives for work — full-time and part-time workers, and those who only drive for work occasionally. Also, make sure your guidelines cover all vehicles — company-owned as well as personal vehicles that employees use on the job.
  2. Review driving assignments: Dispatching drivers in winter requires a different approach than at other times of the year. The safest trip is one that never happens. So review the driving employees typically do. Is it all essential? Can you use technology or adjust schedules to reduce the need for driving?

If driving can’t be avoided, ensure your dispatchers and drivers evaluate current and projected weather and road conditions and review schedules accordingly. Identify the safest routes and use them. Schedule trips at the safest times of day.  If possible, avoid early mornings and late afternoons and evenings as road conditions and visibility can be poor at those times.

Your procedures for trip planning could include delaying the trip, modifying routes and planning for emergencies, or adjusting driving assignments to meet hours of service requirements.

Have dispatchers increase the frequency of check-ins when driving risks are high.

  • Prepare vehicles: Vehicles should be winter-ready before the snow falls, rains start, or temperatures drop. Look at the last few years to see when winter conditions usually hit your area. Create a schedule to winterize vehicles 3 to 4 weeks before this date.

This also applies if your employees are using their own vehicles for work. You need to ensure that employee vehicles meet the same requirements as company vehicles when driven for work.

Winterizing begins with installing 4 matching winter tires. We recommend tires with the 3-peaked mountain/snowflake symbol. By law, tires need to have at least 3.5 mm of tread. Learn more about choosing winter tires.

Here are some other basic recommendations for winterizing a vehicle:

  • Check the battery, brakes, cooling and heating systems, electrical and exhaust system, and belts and hoses to ensure they’re in good working order.
  • Top up cooling fluid, oil levels, and windshield cleaning fluid.
  • Equip it with tire chains or traction devices in good condition.
  • Equip it with an emergency kit.
  • Use winter windshield wiper blades.
  • Prepare drivers: It’s never too early to discuss winter driving safety. To help drivers feel more prepared for winter driving, you can:
  • Including winter road safety topics in staff meetings
  • Reviewing and completing our winter driving hazards form (PDF 571 KB) with them
  • Having them demonstrate your safety procedures to prove they understand them
  • Teaching them how and when to install tire chains, if needed
  • Ensuring they have completed training, and schedule more if needed
  • Requiring them to do trip planning
  • Set goals: Setting road safety goals gives you a way to measure your progress. When it comes to winter driving, the main goal is to reduce the number of injuries, near-misses, and crashes in your organization.

You can also consider setting goals for the number and frequency of winter-related vehicle inspections, training sessions, and safety messages you share with your drivers.

We invite you to share near-miss and safety alerts with members. All confidential information will be removed. Please send an email to [email protected]

Click here to access the complete Safety alert from BC Safety Council : Winter Driving Safety Planning Tool Kit – Road Safety at Work