11 essentials you’ll need to keep on trucking

Veteran or novice, no long-distance trucker should get behind the wheel without making sure their cab is fully equipped to handle life on the open road. Here are 11 things you should never leave home without.

1. De-icer. If you’re going to face frigid weather, you’ll want to bring some de-icer. It’ll allow you to clear your windshield with minimal effort and ensure good visibility.

2. Toiletries and medications. It’s easy to remember to bring some cash for emergencies and enough clothing to last the entire trip, but don’t forget to bring deodorant, soap, oral hygiene products and any medication you might need in addition to the basics included in your first aid kit.

3. First aid kit. No truck should be without a first aid kit. Many companies offer regulation kits specifically stocked for people who drive commercial vehicles. These include the necessary supplies to deal with common roadside injuries.

4. Earplugs. If you’re a team driver and your co-driver snores or likes to listen to music while you’re trying to sleep, these are non-negotiable.

5. Rechargeable headlamp. This can be a lifesaver if your truck breaks down in the middle of the night.

6. Power bank. These devices store power and can be used to charge your cellphone in a pinch. If you break down and you have no way to charge your phone, you’ll be happy to have a power bank with you.

7. Gloves. Warm gloves will keep you comfortable if you’re stuck on the side of the road waiting for a mechanic, and a pair of work gloves will come in handy if you need to do some lifting or repairs.

8. Sunglasses. Whatever the season, you’ll want to protect your eyes from the sun. A good pair of polarized sunglasses will reduce eye strain and ensure you’re not blinded by sunlight reflecting on cars or snow.

9. Non-perishable food and water. If your truck breaks down in the middle of nowhere, you’ll want to have enough food and water to stay comfortable until help arrives.

10. Bad weather gear. If you need to step out of the cab to make repairs in bad weather, you’ll be glad to have an extra jacket and a pair of boots.

11. Sleeping bag, blanket and pillows. Carrying conventional bedding can be a hassle. A sleeping bag is a lot more compact and can be just as comfortable.

Get ready to hit the road

If you want to get your class 1 driver’s license, visit us at North Shore Driving School. We serve Abbotsford, Surrey and the Greater Vancouver area. Contact us today to find out more about our truck driving programs.

Truck crashes: a step-by-step guide

Traffic collisions can unsettle any trucker, no matter how experienced. Having a solid accident response plan is the best way to prevent further damage and injuries and ensure everyone’s safety until emergency responders arrive. Here’s a step-by-step guide for what do to in case of a crash.

1. Stop. Even if the accident seems minor, there’s no way to know for sure unless you stop and exit your truck. This is the only way to assess the damage to your rig and to the other vehicles involved. If you’re transporting hazardous materials, driving on could be extremely dangerous. 

2. Turn on your hazard lights. Before stepping out of the truck, turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers that there’s been an incident. This way, they’ll steer clear and give you enough room to inspect the damage and check on the other drivers.

3. Move out of the way, if possible. Move out of the way of oncoming traffic, provided you’re able to do so safely. If such a manoeuvre seems dangerous, don’t. Your priority is to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

4. Check on other drivers and passengers. Once you’ve stopped and turned on your hazard lights or moved to a safe spot, exit the cab and check on the other people involved in the accident. Make sure nobody is seriously injured.

5. Call 911. Even if there aren’t any serious injuries, your next step should be to call the police. Traffic collisions sometimes cause injuries that aren’t immediately apparent. In addition, everyone should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

6. Set up emergency signals. Once emergency responders are on the way, set up things like warning triangles if you have them. This further ensures that everyone is safe until help arrives.

7. Inspect your rig. While you wait for help, make sure your truck and its cargo are in good shape. This is especially important if you’re transporting hazardous materials.

8. Report the incident. Contact your insurance company or, if applicable, your employer to report the incident.

9. Don’t assign blame. Don’t try to determine who was at fault. There are more important things for everyone to worry about.

Truck driving school in British Columbia
To ensure you receive a solid education, trust the instructors at North Shore Driving School. We offer programs to people living on the Lower Mainland, including Coquitlam, Richmond and Vancouver. Contact us today to find out how we can help you get your Class 1 licence or polish off your truck driving skills.

What new drivers need to know about car insurance

Owning and operating a car responsibly starts with attending an excellent driving school to acquire all the essential knowledge about driving a car. But your responsibilities don’t end with simply learning how to safely operate your vehicle. You also need the best car insurance you can get. Whether you’ve just learned how to drive and are thinking of purchasing a car, or you’ve been driving for a while and would like to know a bit more about how car insurance works, here are the basics that every driver should know.

What is car insurance?

Car insurance ensures that you can cover large expenses in the case of an accident or other type of incident. The idea is fairly simple: you pay a small regular fee into a larger fund and if your car gets damaged or stolen, or someone gets hurt while operating the car, the insurance company will cover the involved costs. There are a lot of different kinds of car insurance and varying types of contracts or “policies” that will cover you in distinct situations.

Why is it important?

First and foremost, car insurance is mandated by the government for every car owner in Canada who wants to drive on public roads and highways. Furthermore, owning and maintaining a car is expensive. If an accident occurs or if your car is broken into, most people don’t have the kind of cash it takes to repair the damage. Insurance is important not only to follow the law, but also to protect you from having to pay huge expenses out of your own pocket.

How can I get car insurance?

There are many different kinds of insurance companies who offer car insurance. However, it can be advantageous to work with an insurance broker, as they’re typically able to find the best combination of insurance policies available from differing companies. If you already have life or home insurance, for example, chances are that your broker will be able to add car insurance to your existing arrangement.

At North Shore Driving School, we want all our customers to learn the skills required to drive on Canada’s roads safely. If you live in the greater Vancouver area and are interested in learning how to drive a car or truck, contact us today to find out how easy it is to become a great driver.

Why it’s important for your teen to attend driving school

For many Canadian teens, learning how to drive is an important rite of passage into adulthood. Getting a 7L licence is a great moment for many young people, but for their parents, it’s also the start of a whole new set of worries. To make sure that your children become safe drivers, you should encourage them to get the practice they need with professional guidance from a driving school.

At North Shore Driving School, we’ve been helping Vancouverites learn how to become safe, responsible drivers since 1961. If your teen is ready to learn how to drive, here are just a few reasons that attending driving school is one of the best possible ways for him or her to acquire this skill.

• Prevents your teen from developing bad driving habits. If you’ve been driving for years, you can probably understand how difficult it is to break a bad driving habit once you’ve developed one. Whether its rolling through a stop sign or just going a bit too fast on the highway, you likely don’t want your child to become accustomed to dangerous behaviours. When it comes to safe driving, it’s never too early to start learning the best habits.

• Practice will help your teen advance more quickly. It’s tough sometimes for parents to balance the need for their teen to practice driving and the desire to protect them from harm. However, the only way for your child to improve their driving skills is to put in lots of time behind the wheel. Parents should let their teen practice frequently and the safest way to do so, is with the help of a professional driving instructor.

• Driving school helps your teen drive safer. For an experienced driver, all the complex, coordinated movements involved in operating a car seem natural. Likewise, the many rules of the road seem straightforward and clearcut. When you’re just starting out, however, driving is complex and there’s little that seems obvious about it. Fortunately, driving lessons from a professional driving school will provide the training your teen needs to become a safe and conscientious driver.

• Driving school looks good to insurance companies. Even with the best training, it’s a statistical fact that young, relatively inexperienced drivers get into accidents more frequently than more mature drivers. This is why insurance rates will always be higher for a new driver. When calculating premiums, however, most insurance companies will consider someone who’s gone to driving school to be a safer bet than someone who hasn’t.

If you’re interested in getting the best training to ensure that your teen will have everything he or she needs to be a safe, responsible driver, contact us at North Shore Driving School today. You can even take a refresher course yourself, so you can polish your own skills and share the experience with your teen.

Tips on how to pass your driving test in BC

At North Shore Driving School, we know that not everyone does well under testing conditions. Even if you’re a great driver, you may feel the pressure of getting it right while under scrutiny. The best way to prepare for your driving test is to get the best advice possible and practice as much as you can.

Here are just a few common-sense tips we at North Shore Driving School can offer you before you take your road test:

Practice as much as you can beforehand
It may sound obvious, but a lot of drivers might feel nervous getting behind the wheel—especially if you’re going somewhere with more experienced drivers. Remember, however, that the best way to gain confidence is through experience. Take advantage of every opportunity you get to practice your driving in a real-world setting.

Get a good night’s rest
Even if you’re the sort of person that gets nervous about testing, the best thing you can do the night before your exam is to get a good night’s sleep. If you’re well rested, your memory will be more acute and your reflexes will be in top shape.

Don’t forget to check your car’s settings before starting the engine
One common mistake that a lot of people make if they haven’t taken a driving test before is to rush to get the car started and get on their way. It’s understandable that you’d want to get the test over with as soon as possible, but try not to rush at the expense of getting things right. Before you start the engine, be sure to go through a check of your car’s settings. Are the mirrors correctly positioned? Have you buckled your seatbelt? Getting these details right every time is what safe driving is all about.

Know what the examiners will be looking for
The people who administer driving tests aren’t out to get you. They’re simply trying to do their job of making sure that drivers in British Columbia meet safety standards. The examiner’s job is not to see if you mean well when driving a car or whether you know the rules of the road in your head—it’s to make sure you can demonstrate safe driving habits and procedures. Be sure you know the things that a driving examiner will be looking for before you take the test, and carefully demonstrate your mastery of those skills.

Get the best help you can to prepare
Attending a well-respected professional driving school to prepare for the driving exam is a great idea for everyone in British Columbia. Whether you’re taking your test for the first time or you simply want to brush up on a few essential skills, we’re here to help. Contact us for professional lessons at North Shore Driving School today.

Spring is here! Is it time to switch your winter tires?

Spring is a time of change, and that includes your vehicle’s tires. To improve your vehicle’s performance and keep your passengers safe no matter what the road conditions are, it’s essential to have the right tires for the job. Once spring starts springing, you should switch over your tires from winter to all-season or summer versions.

At North Shore Driving School, we’re advocates of safe driving education. Here are a few reasons you should put changing your vehicle’s tires on your spring to-do list.

How are summer tires different from winter ones?
To the untrained eye, most tires look pretty similar. Despite appearances, winter tires are significantly different from summer or all-season tires, both in their design and the type of rubber they’re made from.

The deeper treads of winter tires are specifically designed to cut through snow and ice so that your tires can grip the road. They’re made of a special kind of rubber that stays pliable at lower temperatures. Even if it’s freezing cold out, your winter tires will be able to gain traction on icy roads.

All-season and summer tires, on the other hand, are designed with higher temperatures in mind. Although winter tires are great at low temperatures, they become too pliable at higher ones and their rubber can quickly degrade if kept on your car during the summer. All-season tires and summer tires have different treads and rubber that grip the road better when it’s clear of snow and ice. (Don’t be fooled by the name “all-season” tires—they’re not the best choice for the extreme cold of a Canadian winter.)

When is the right moment to change?
There’s no exact perfect moment to change your tires. Every Canadian knows that we usually have to be well into spring before we feel sure that there’s no threat of a cold snap. Although it’s not a good idea to drive on your winter tires all year, they won’t start disintegrating after a few days in the heat. You should keep an eye on the weather forecast and, once you feel confident that there are more warm days than cold ones on the horizon, set up an appointment to have your tires changed.

Knowing best driving practices is essential to keeping you and your loved ones safe on the road. If you’d like to know more about road safety or would like to learn how to drive, contact us for professional lessons at North Shore Driving School today.

Tips for Better Winter Driving Awareness from Your Trusted BC Driving School

Navigate Safely in Vancouver, Surrey, Coquitlam and more this Winter

Winter driving is unique, and for some motorists it can be quite stressful. Not only are you dealing with winter road conditions like snow, slush, and ice, but now you are dealing with drivers that might be unaware of how to handle such situations.

While you cannot control other drivers, you can do your part of staying safe by being more aware of your actions during winter driving.

Steps for Safer Driving this Winter

Whether the first snow has already struck, or you are readying your vehicle for the cold and ice ahead, follow these tips to stay safe and accident-free this winter:

1. Have a Winter-Ready Vehicle: Make sure your car is ready to tackle the wintry road conditions. That means having winter tires installed, keeping snow and ice brush/scrapers in your car, and taking it in for pre-winter maintenance. Fill up washer fluid, ensure
defrosters work, and pack a safety kit for your trunk that has winter necessities.

2. Never Tailgate: No matter how much of a hurry you are in or how slow the lead vehicle is, there is no excuse to tailgate. In the winter, this rule is more critical, because you have ice and snow hindering your ability to stop quickly. Give yourself extra room in the winter so that you can stop safely despite ice or snow.

3. Drive Smooth: Erratic movements on snowy roads almost always lead to loss of control. Do not take turns sharply, do not stop abruptly, and drive slowly so that your tires have a proper grip on the surface.

4. Do Not Pump the Brakes: Remember the age-old advice of pumping the brakes applied to vehicles without anti-lock braking systems. Today, most cars come with ABS as s standard feature; therefore, you can use the brakes, and the system helps to do the work for you.

5. Know What to Do if You Skid: You most likely learned this in our Vancouver driving school when first getting your license, but do you remember what to do if your vehicle skids or starts to lose control? Turn into the direction of the skid, but do not brake. By doing this, you will transfer weight and help your vehicle regain control.

6. Keep Lights on Always: To increase visibility, especially during snow, keep your headlights on.  

7. Never Use Cruise Control: Cruise control should never be on in the winter. It is not designed for wet, icy, snowy, or poor road conditions. If you have cruise control engaged, you could lose control quickly and face a collision or a skid.

Prepare Yourself for Winter by Attending Our Local Vancouver Driving School

When was the last time you took a driving class? If you are like most adults, it was when you first got your driver’s license, and you have not looked back since.

Our driving school can help prepare you for winter. Even if you are a newer driver, taking professional courses ensure you are ready for all the weather conditions British Columbia brings.

Refine your skills or learn something new by attending driving school at North Shore Driving School, Ltd. We serve Surrey, Coquitlam, and surrounding areas.

We offer courses for all ages and driving levels, including experienced drivers.

Call our Truck Division in Burnaby for your commercial driving courses at 604-299-9292, or connect with our Car Division in North Vancouver by calling 604-988-1138. You can also contact a representative online with your questions about our driving school.

Keeping Your Passengers Safe and Comfortable for the Ride — Useful Advice from Your Trusted Langley Driving School

Whether you are traveling with family members on a road trip, friends, or your coworkers on the way to the office, you can keep yourself and passengers comfortable for the ride.

After all, safety and comfort are just as crucial to your passenger as it is for yourself – and you would expect someone to do the same if you were their passenger.

By taking a few simple steps, you can ensure a pleasurable drive, regardless of how far you must go.

Tips for Keeping Everyone Happy on the Road

It does not matter who your passenger is, as the driver you are required to keep them safe. Whether you are driving for work or pleasure, consider these tips used by experienced drivers for making the drive enjoyable:

· Put Yourself in the Passenger’s Position: Think of how you would want a driver to be if you were the passenger. Would you want them to obey traffic signals? Not tailgate other motorists? Avoid speeding in poor weather? Then, you can assume that your
passengers feel the same. A passenger is not in control of the vehicle, which can make them on edge already. Therefore, do your part by driving safely.

· The Type of Vehicle Matters: Vehicles with a longer and broader wheelbase have more legroom inside, such as a longer sedan, SUV or minivan. If you have your choice of vehicle, go with something that is roomy for everyone, regardless of which seat they are in.

· Shift Smooth: If you have a manual transmission, work on your shifting. There is nothing worse than jerking back and forth when gears are stuck, or someone is sloppy with the gear shifter. Consider familiarizing yourself with manual transmission driving by attending classes at our Langley driving school.

· Consider Snacks: If the drive is for more than 30 minutes, bring along car-friendly snacks and bottles of water. Do not forget a plastic bag for trash after snack time and avoid anything that is overly messy, easily spilled, or sticky.

· Avoid Sudden Movements: Even the coziest interiors and right balance of snacks are quickly canceled out with jerky driving and sudden movements. Avoid braking suddenly, veering, and turning sharply. Take the time to learn your vehicle’s movements and how it handles. In addition, you may want to consider taking a refresher course at a driving school in the Coquitlam area for practice.

Take Courses at Our Driving School – We Serve Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford, Coquitlam, and Surrounding Areas

If you have been driving for years, you most likely have entered the “robotic” phase. That means you drive without thinking much about your actions or your passengers. 

Now is the time to refresh your driving skills, and refine your technique so that you can be the driver everyone wants on your next family outing or business trip. North Shore Driving School, Ltd. offers comprehensive training programs, refresher courses,
and private lessons for drivers of all ages.

Call our Truck Division in Burnaby for your commercial driving courses at 604-299-9292, or connect with our Car Division in North Vancouver by calling 604-988-1138. You can also contact a representative online with your questions about our Langley, Surrey, Coquitlam, and Abbotsford driving schools.

Is There a Right Time to Switch to Winter Tires?

While fall temperatures are steadily dipping, they have not dropped into anything colder than 7 degrees Celsius. Vehicle and tire manufacturers recommend using snow tires once the temperatures are consistently 7 degrees Celsius or lower.

Every time you think the weather is cold enough, it starts to warm up again. You do not want to wait too long to put on your tires, but you also do not want to put on snow tires earlier than you should. So, how do you know when is the right time to get this done and prepare your vehicle for winter?

How to Decide if It is Snow Tire Time

Winter tires are a critical investment. They keep your vehicle and you safe on the road, and are better at providing you with traction than all-season tires. If you cannot decide when to put on your tires, consider these factors first:

· Go by the Season: The typical “rule” is that between Thanksgiving and Easter, you will use your winter tires. However, some years the temperatures dip faster, while others are unseasonably warm. If you go solely by the season, then you may have winter tires on too long or too early.

· Temperatures: Manufacturers recommend using their winter tires when the temperatures go below 7 degrees Celsius. This temperature is when the weather is cold, but also snow, freezing rain, ice, and slush are frequent too. The rubber compound in traditional or
all-season tires freezes and hardens when temperatures are at 7 degrees Celsius or lower. Winter tires contain rubber compounds that stay pliable and soft even in low temperatures.

· Requirements: Two provinces legally require winter tires: Quebec and British Columbia. These tires are required in Quebec from December 15th to March 15th, while BC requires them with the mountain snowflake or M+S symbol from October 1st to April 30th.

Some drivers wait until the first snow to switch out tires, but this is dangerous. The tires you have on the rest of the year are not equipped for winter temperatures and road conditions; therefore, you put yourself at risk for an accident doing so. Also, waiting for the season to officially start means that tire companies will be overwhelmed, and you may have to wait a few days to get in line for your tire change.

Refresh Your Winter Driving Skills by Attending a Vancouver Driving School

Regardless of the tires you have on your vehicle, winter driving requires a unique skillset. You will not have to stress over it too much if you take a refresher course from North Shore Driving School, Ltd.

We offer refresher classes for drivers of all ages. This 90-minute lesson assesses your skills, driving habits, and can help identify bad habits you may have developed over the years.

Call our Truck Division in Burnaby for your commercial license classes at 604-299-9292, or connect with our Car Division in North Vancouver by calling 604-988-1138. You can also contact a representative online with your questions about our driving schools serving Vancouver, Surrey, and surrounding areas of BC.

What You Need to Know about Vancouver Police Commercial Safety Inspections

Whether you are the owner of a trucking company or a commercial driver, driving through Vancouver is not going to be as easy as it was before. In fact, Vancouver police are now cracking down on unsafe commercial vehicles, and their inspections have yet to allow a truck to leave free and clear.

In fact, one news article reported that out of the 75 trucks inspected randomly one day, none were able to leave without being assessed for a violation of some kind. Therefore, if you are operating a commercial vehicle, you need to be aware of

these inspections, what they are looking for, and what it means for your business.

How do Enforcement Inspections Affect You? 

According to the Vancouver Police Department’s Commercial Vehicle Unit, and the Provincial Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement team, commercial vehicles are inspected at random for violations. So far in 2017, 94 percent of the vehicles inspected had some form of violation. 
If you have a violation, you could face significant fines. Therefore, to avoid them, you need to be aware of what they are looking for and what it means for your company:

· Tires: Balding tires are a significant safety risk. Commercial vehicle fleets rely heavily on their trucks to come to a complete stop, with balding tires the stopping distance will be much longer.

· Load Security: The way cargo is loaded into a commercial vehicle greatly affects its safety. Uneven loads can force a semi-truck to roll over, and trucks that are overweight may be unable to stop safely.

· Brakes: A semi-truck with faulty brakes is a catastrophe waiting to happen. Therefore, police officers are inspecting brake systems, including air brakes. If these systems have any mechanical deficiencies, serious fines will be imposed, and can put the
truck out of service until the issues are corrected.

· Windshields: No one will deny that a commercial truck takes a serious beating on a day-to-day basis, and it is likely that a cracked windshield will happen. However, that crack cannot obscure the driver’s field of vision or be too significant. If so, the company or driver will be cited. Therefore, make sure all windshields are crack-free and repair any chips in the glass as soon as possible to avoid costly cracks.

These are just some of the areas being inspected for commercial vehicles. Note, if your truck looks as though it is in a state of disrepair, you will automatically be pulled over and the truck inspected. Therefore, it is best to inspect your fleet, maintain the trucks, and take care of any repairs immediately before putting vehicles back into operation.

Attend a Truck Driving School in Vancouver Today
Increasingly, the police are taking commercial trucking safety seriously. Make sure your drivers are ready for the road by having them attend truck driving courses at a reputed Vancouver driving school.

North Shore Driving School, Ltd. offers commercial lessons at our West Vancouver driving school. Courses include Class 1, 3, and 4 training, air brake courses, professional driver improvement, and we also offer skill upgrading and private lessons.

Call our Truck Division in Burnaby for your commercial license classes at 604-299-9292, or connect with our Car Division in North Vancouver by calling 604-988-1138. You can also contact a representative online with your questions about our truck driving schools, serving Vancouver, Langley, Surrey, and the surrounding areas.