Safety on winter roads

I exchanged tweets last week with a commercial truck driver who was less than impressed with the winter maintenance of B.C.’s highways. There is no doubt in my mind that when your livelihood depends on being able to keep your truck moving road maintenance is a subject near and dear to your heart. My question is, was this gentleman speaking from emotion or was he being realistic?

If money was no object, we could hire enough people and equipment that snow removal vehicles would pass by you on any highway in B.C. like transit buses in downtown Vancouver at rush hour. This is not realistic of course. Our taxes would not support it and what would you do with all that manpower and machinery when the snow wasn’t falling?

When I travel in winter, part of the plan includes the decision on whether it is appropriate to travel at all. If it is, and I run into an unforeseen situation, it’s up to me to have some stake in being able to look after myself. Good winter tires, chains, jumper cables, a shovel, some sand, breakdown warnings, you get the idea. I cannot and should not place 100 per

cent of the job on the shoulders of the road maintenance contractors.

Yes, sometimes road maintenance is not ideal. People get sick and can’t come to work, equipment breaks down and Mother Nature just dumps more snow out of the sky than even the best can cope with. It’s all a compromise and in my experience the crews seem to do quite well more often than not. Enough that I am still procrastinating about buying the set of chains for my truck that I swore I would buy after getting stuck on an unplowed road a couple of years ago.

The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit drivesmartbc.ca