With winter weather being what it is in Canada - several months of often bitterly cold temperatures, accompanied by frozen precipitation - it can make for treacherous driving. Yet despite the season being relatively young, there has been a high number of accidents involving commercial truckers in Ontario, raising the alarm of traffic safety officials.
In Ontario alone, there have been nearly 1,300 collisions involving a commercial motor vehicle between November and Dec. 17, according to crash data from the Ontario Provincial Police. Perhaps stemming from the increased traffic around the holidays, 220 of these occurred inside of a week and a half.
Chuck Cox, provincial commander for the OPP Highway Safety Division, noted that by and large, professional truck drivers are well aware of what weight their big rig is carrying, but some can underestimate how much time they need to stop, particularly when road conditions are treacherous.
"The OPP acknowledges that many commercial motor vehicle drivers take their driving responsibilities seriously," said Cox in a press release. "But it is imperative that every person who drives a large truck recognizes the increased risks and social costs."
He further pointed out that the risk of serious injury is quite high when big, load-bearing vehicles are involved in accidents, whether with another commercial driver or motorists in passenger cars.
Tragically, many of the accidents investigated by the OPP have resulted in someone's death. Since January, there have been 8,850 collisions on OPP-patrolled roads, 74 of which have involved a highway fatality.
Safety Tips to Remember
The OPP reminded both passenger drivers and motorists who drive professionally to always be mindful of their speed. While the speed limit may say one thing, when the roads are icy, it's important to lower your speed so that you're in more control of the wheel, as it takes more time to stop, particularly commercial drivers that may be carrying heavy loads.
Commercial drivers also have to be mindful of their blind spots. The side mirrors on big rigs typically have both convex and concave mirrors, helping truckers to see more of what's around them. But it's also important for truckers to use their peripheral vision when changing lanes or getting off at an exit where other drivers can pass.