Life on the Road: Truck Stop Safety Tips

Whether you’re behind the wheel of a truck or driving a car, long-distance trips require you to take regular breaks. If you aren’t used to it, you may worry about yourself and your cargo. Here are some safety tips to follow when pulling into truck stops.

General Safety Tips

Remember that truck stops may have children and pets running around, so always be mindful of your speed. Be cautious when making turns, and be wary of blind spots.

If you’re worried about other people posing a threat, avoid truck stops that look deserted or poorly lit. it’s also a good idea to steer clear of busy ones that seem to be occupied by a single group, as in those cases the presence of others is unlikely to deter disruptive behaviour.

Most importantly, trust your instincts. If a location seems unsafe or makes you uncomfortable, don’t stop. Effective tactics when trying to avoid being targeted by would-be criminals is to make it look like you aren’t on your own. Planning stops ahead of time and targeting places that are known to be safe is a good idea.

Finally, regardless of the length of your stop, always make sure your cargo is secure.

Short Stops

Quick, short breaks may feel less stressful than long stops, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remain alert.

If you’re stopping for gas, don’t wait too long for an ideal spot to free up. Get into the next available space and try to fill up quickly. Waiting too long could cause a bottleneck, which is likely to slow everyone down and increase your risk of being in collision.

When you’re ready to go inside to use the restroom or buy some food, be careful not to park in a spot reserved for large rigs. They don’t have as many parking options and the more they have to drive around, the likelier they are to cause issues with other vehicles.

Overnight Stops

If you’re stopping for the night, check with the attendant to make sure you park in a spot designated for your type of vehicle and for long-term stops. It’s also courteous to do your best to respect everyone’s privacy.

Lower Mainland Driving School

If you want to get your truck driving licence or just want to refresh your skills to become a better driver, North Shore Driving School has you covered. Our service area includes North and West Vancouver, Burnaby and more. Contact us today to learn more about our courses!

5 Tips for Rookie Truck Drivers in BC

Becoming a proficient truck driver requires training and practice.

However, you can get a head start by adhering to these helpful tips.

  1. Stay on track
    A good GPS designed especially for commercial trucks is a must-have. Just don’t make the mistake of buying one designed for cars, which may lead you down roads that are problematic or prohibited to trucks. Make sure you always have a paper map as a back-up and that you know how to read it.
  2. Be careful backing up
    Backing up is one of the biggest challenges for truck drivers, especially rookies. The difficulty is in properly lining up to the loading dock or parking space and staying straight as you back up. When you’re starting out, you’ll want to back up in stages: every 5 feet or so get out of the truck and check that you’re well-aligned.
  3. Don’t rush
    Even if you’re behind schedule, don’t hit the road until you’ve double-checked that all the necessary prep tasks were completed. This includes unhooking air lines and raising or lowering landing gear. Working too fast can lead to costly mistakes.
  4. Look after yourself
    Staying alert at the wheel depends a great deal on factors like sleep and nutrition. Getting seven to eight hours of rest every night is crucial to ensuring peak alertness on the road. Staying well-hydrated is also important. Studies show that it improves one’s focus and reaction times. In addition, it’s important to eat well. Healthy meals and snacks will give you an energy boost, whereas fast food will leave you feeling tired and sluggish.

    Finally, having a regular exercise routine is also key. When not balanced by physical activity, sitting for hours on end can negatively impact your health, detracting not only from your ability to stay alert when driving but also from your overall quality of life.
  5. Get properly trained
    Only get behind the wheel once you feel ready and confident. The best way to prepare yourself for a trucking career is with hands-on training at a reputable truck driving school. In addition to giving you the credentials you need to land a great job, a comprehensive training program will provide you with the skills you need to be a safe and effective driver.

Commercial truck driving school serving Burnaby and Coquitlam

Since 1961,North Shore Driving School has been the premier professional truck driving school in Burnaby. For more information about our courses, contact us today.

Overview of the New Wheel Chain Regulations for B.C. Truck Drivers

Last November, the provincial government introduced more extensive regulations around the mandatory use of chains and other traction devices by commercial vehicles.

These rules came into effect October 1 and truck drivers who fail to comply with them will face stiff fines. In this article, we provide a comprehensive overview of the new regulations.

The new rules around wheel chains

Previously, only trucks that weighed more than 27,000 kg were required to carry and use traction devices, and only one wheel needed to be chained during mandatory chain ups. Regulations around traction devices are now more stringent and extend to less heavy vehicles.

  • Commercial vehicles weighing over 11,794 (such as semi-trucks) must carry steel chains on most major highways from October 1 to April 30. During mandatory chain ups, between two to six tires need to be chained up, depending on the vehicle configuration. The installation directions for different vehicle configurations are presented in this infographic from the provincial government.
  • Commercial vehicles weighing between 5,000 kg and 11,794 kg (such as buses or 5-ton trucks) that aren’t equipped with appropriate winter tires must carry chains or other acceptable traction devices (cable chains, automatic tire chains, wheel sanders and textile tire covers) from October 1 to April 30. During mandatory chain ups, if the vehicle doesn’t have winter tires, two of the wheels need to be equipped with traction devices. Refer to the infographic to learn where the traction devices need to be placed.

Fines for noncompliance

Previously, truck drivers faced a fine of $121 for not carrying or installing chains when the law required it. As of October 1, fines of $196 are imposed for not carrying chains or other traction devices during the period of October 1 to April 30. And fines of $598 are imposed for driving without chains or other traction devices during mandatory chain ups.

The reason for the new regulations

The majority of highway closures during winter are caused by commercial trucks. For example, during the winter of 2017 to 2018, they caused 33 of the 35 closures on the Coquihalla Highway. In most cases the truck either didn’t have chains on or the chains were poorly installed, and this was one of the key factors in the incident. Following the introduction of the new regulations, this figure dropped to nine. Now that the regulations are being enforced, we can reasonably expect to see even fewer such accidents.

Commercial truck driving school serving Burnaby and Coquitlam

At North Shore Driving School, our professional truck driving school provides you with the training you need to be a better, safer truck driver. To learn more about our courses, contact us today.0

Know your truck: air brakes

Air brakes are used in heavy trucks and buses because they’re more reliable than standard hydraulic brakes. As a trucker, being familiar with air brakes and how they work is crucial to ensuring everyone’s safety on the road. Here’s what you should know about them.

How do air brakes work? 

The simplest way to understand how air brakes work is to compare them to hydraulic brakes. On regular cars, brakes are disengaged by default. Pressing the brake pedal forces fluid into the brake lines, engaging the brake. Air brakes, by contrast, are always engaged. Brake lines are filled with air, which is pressurized when the truck is turned on. When you engage the brake, air pressure is reduced which activates the braking mechanism.

Why do heavy vehicles use air brakes?

Heavy trailers need to be equipped with their own brakes to allow drivers to stop promptly and safely. Air brake systems make it possible to hook up a trailer’s brakes to the control system housed in the cab. This would be highly impractical with a hydraulic system.

What are the advantages of air brakes?

Air brakes are a lot easier to connect than hydraulic brakes and using air instead of hydraulic fluid prevents many potential malfunctions. For example, minor leaks in the brake lines won’t cause a complete failure of the system, and air brakes can even function despite major leaks. Plus, since air supply is unlimited, the system isn’t at risk of running out of the active braking substance.

Do I need special training to operate air brakes?

Safely operating air brakes requires professional training. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, which issues air brake endorsements, states that drivers operating commercial vehicles equipped with air brakes need to be trained to use them, as the cost of mistakes is much higher when driving heavy vehicles.

Do I need to be endorsed?

If you’re thinking of pursuing a career as a truck driver, getting an endorsement is non-negotiable. In British Columbia, being endorsed is required to drive commercial vehicles equipped with air brakes. The best way to ensure you get the endorsement is to sign up for an air brake course.

Truck driving schools serving Abbotsford, Surrey and the Greater Vancouver area

To ensure you get the most out of your air brake course, you can trust the instructors at North Shore Driving School. Contact us today to learn more about our truck driving programs.

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.

Everything You Must Know to Get into the Vancouver Trucking Industry

Getting into the trucking industry is exciting, but you must be adequately prepared for the challenge. If you are seeking a new career opportunity, you might want to get into the Vancouver trucking industry while it is still ripe.

Canada’s economy relies on the trucking industry. In fact, in statistics updated in 2012, trucks transported 64 million shipments with more than 650 million tonnes of cargo approximately 40.7 billion kilometres, according to the BC Trucking Association (BCTA).

Critical Facts to Know about the Vancouver Trucking Industry for Newcomers

You are excited about the opportunities in today’s trucking industry in British Columbia. However, becoming a driver today requires that you pass a set list of stringent requirements and training before you can get a job. To help you get a jumpstart on your new career, consider the following requirements and facts:

· Driver’s License: To drive a truck in British Columbia, you must have a Class 5 driver’s license from the ICBC. Then, you can upgrade your passenger license to a Class 1 or Class 3 commercial license. To upgrade, you must visit an ICBC licensing
office, provide identification, meet the required medical standards, meet the minimum age requirements, successfully complete the knowledge test for your Class 1 or Class 3 Learner’s License, complete on road training then successfully pass the appropriate ICBC road test. Also, you must have a history of driving experience in a class 5,6 acceptable by ICBC.

· Clean Driving Record: You must have an acceptable driving record to upgrade to your commercial license. No more than 4 offences that carry penalty points in the previous two years, zero motor-vehicle-related Criminal Code convictions in the previous three years,

· Age: To become a licensed commercial truck operator, you must be 18 years old minimum for a Class 3 or heavy trailer endorsement. For a Class 1, 2 or 4, you must be 19 years old.

· Medical Test: ICBC requires a medical examination when applying for your commercial license. You will complete the medical examination on a scheduled basis. Keep in mind that the tests are completed by a physician and at your expense.

· Criminal Record: In addition to a clean driving record, you must have zero motor-vehicle-related Criminal convictions in the previous two years. With any criminal convictions, your chances of being hired by future employers are limited.

· Truck Driving Training: Established Langley driving schools offer truck driving training to teach you the essentials. Even if you have driven a semi-truck before, refresher courses teach you the latest in air brake technology and safety. To
get your commercial license, you must take the appropriate knowledge test, and complete a commercial vehicle on road training. If you plan to drive a truck equipped with air brakes, you must also complete the air brake knowledge test and complete an airbrake training class approved by the ICBC.

· Regulations and Requirements: Commercial truck drivers must follow the National Safety Code hours of service rules. For example, you cannot drive more than 13 hours in a 24 hour period.

Learn the Rules of the Road by Attending our Truck Driving School Serving Langley, Coquitlam, Vancouver & the Surrounding Area

If you are ready to venture into an exciting and rewarding career field, you must first go through the proper training and obtain the required license.

The Truck Division at North Shore Driving School, Ltd. offers truck driving training for Coquitlam, Richmond, Surrey, and surrounding cities.

To get a job as a commercial driver, you must complete the proper coursework, driving hours, and take the ICBC road test. With our courses, we help you increase the chances you will succeed and be able to start your new career.

Call our Truck Division in Burnaby for lessons by calling 604-299-9292, or connect with our Car Division serving exclusively North Vancouver by calling 604-988-1138. You can also contact a representative online with your questions about which driving course is right for you.

Stay Safe on the Road: Learn How to Prevent Tractor Jackknifes Useful Tips from Your Burnaby Driving School

A jackknife occurs when a semi-truck trailer loses control and creates a V-shape or L-shape with the cab. These accidents are common, but do not have to be—proper training and defensive driving can make these incidents avoidable. Also, motorist awareness can reduce the number of tractor trailer jackknifes in Vancouver.

What Causes a Tractor Jackknife?

Typically, these accidents occur when the truck’s wheels lock and the truck hits a slick spot. The trailer continues rolling after the cab stops, forcing the driver to lose control and the trailer swings to one side. When this happens, it takes multiple vehicles out in the process.

Common causes of jackknife incidents include:

· Improper Training: Drivers of semi-trucks need the right skills to prevent an accident and recover when their truck begins to go out of control. Failure to exercise corrective measures is what leads to deadly accidents.

· Improper Loading: When the semi-truck trailer is overloaded or has uneven cargo on one side of the trailer compared to the other, it increases the likelihood that the truck’s trailer will slide off to the side.

· Weather Conditions: Often, the worst accidents occur when the roads are slick, such as after a rainstorm, during a snow episode, or when the roads are icy.

· Other Motorists: When a driver must make a sudden manoeuvre to avoid another vehicle, such as a vehicle that has cut off the semi-truck, the driver may overcorrect and experience a jackknife.

How to Correct and Avoid Jackknife Accidents

This type of accident happens slower than a typical collision or skidding incident, which means drivers do have adequate time to respond. As the driver, you must let off the brakes and lightly touch the throttle. Once the brakes are not engaged, the truck’s tires can regain control and the slight adjustment to the throttle helps you put the trailer behind you.

Sometimes, you may not have enough time to respond. For example, you lose traction in poor weather. If you are not in the position to let off the brake and engage the throttle, your semi-truck will likely jackknife. Experienced drivers say that they can predict it even before the trailer starts moving sideways. A standard engine will begin to rev when the brakes lock; indicating you have a few seconds to react and avoid the unfortunate incident.

Learn How to Avoid Jackknifes by Attending a Driving School in Burnaby serving Langley, Coquitlam, and the Surrounding Areas

To properly handle a jackknife, you should attend a Burnaby truck driving school for commercial driving. North Shore Driving School, Ltd. offers new and experienced drivers the chance to not only get their license, but also learn the essentials to avoid accidents –
including a jackknife.

The Truck Division at North Shore Driving School, Ltd. offers air brake courses, Classes 1 through 4 license training, and defensive skills to keep you safe on the road whether you travel a few miles per day or engage in or long-distance trucking.

Call our Truck Division in Burnaby for lessons by calling 604-299-9292. For residential driver training in North Vancouver, connect with our Car Division by calling 604-988-1138. You can also contact a representative online with questions regarding what
driving course is right for you.

4 Tips for Long-Distance Highway Driving from Experts at Your Langley Driving School

Long-distance road travel can be emotionally and physically demanding. If driving alone, you do not have the luxury of someone there to converse with on the journey and help you stay focused on the road ahead. Whether your long-distance road travel is for work or personal reasons, there are steps you can take to remain alert and stay safe on the road.

How to Handle Your Next Long-Distance Road Trip like a Pro

The next time you are going to be on the road for several hours (or days), implement these ideas to keep your vehicle and you safe:

  • Rest before You Go: Before a long-distance journey, do not think that you can get away with minimal sleep. Fatigued driving is just as hazardous as drunken driving. Therefore, make sure you get a full night’s rest to stay alert and have the energy required for your long haul drive.
  • Take Frequent Breaks: Regardless of how far you have to go, frequent breaks are necessary for long-distance driving. Getting out of your vehicle, stretching your legs, and just breathing in fresh air will help reduce fatigue. Stopping even for a few minutes to stretch will make a difference.
  • Plan Your Trip Ahead: No matter how familiar you are with your drive, a driving school in Coquitlam will tell you always to be prepared for the unexpected. That means equipping your vehicle with a first aid and roadside safety kit, having food and water, and clean clothes. Blankets, candles, and a flashlight are also a necessity. Furthermore, do not rely solely on GPS technology. To prevent data interruption or limited signals, bring along a map or road guide of the area.
  • Keep Entertained, Yet Focused: Falling into the highway hypnosis is common; especially if you are driving alone and for several hours at a time. To keep your brain from trailing off, play music, listen to an audio book and do what you can to remain alert. Do not let your mind wander on your surroundings either; keep your eyes ahead on the road.

Find an Abbotsford Driving School to Brush Up on Essential Techniques Before You Go

Before your next long haul, you can brush up on your driving skills by taking a driving course. North Shore’s North Vancouver driving school offers a refresher course for motorists ready to relearn the essentials.For commercial drivers, taking an individual driving lesson and skill upgrade can better prepare you for long hauls; especially if you are more experienced in short drives.

Regardless, having the right training and knowing how to stay safe on the road during your long trip could make all the difference.

Call our Car Division in North Vancouver for a refresher course at 604-988-1138 or schedule your driver improvement course with our Truck Division by calling 604-299-9292. You can also contact a representative online with your questions about which driving course is right for you.

4 Ways to Find the Right Truck Driving School

Ready to handle an 18-wheeler or other large vehicle on the road? It is not easy and truck driving comes with its own range of concerns and skills that need to be in place for success. Whether you have a personal or professional interest in truck driving, getting high-quality lessons can make the difference in your experience and success. It is not always easy to choose a school. With so many options, it can be difficult to narrow down the qualities that distinguish a reputable truck driving school from others. Use the tips below and contact North Shore Driving School for trusted driving schools in Abbotsford, Langley, Coquitlam, Surrey, and Burnaby.

Important Qualities Your Truck Driving School Needs
Don’t compromise on these 4 must-have options and qualities for your truck driving school in BC:

Track Record – An established driving school that has been operating for years will be better equipped to teach you the best way to handle your truck. From adequate equipment, to appropriate fuel and expert instructors, turning to a driving school with experience is advised for the best results. Work with driving instructors who have successfully taught other truck drivers to control and manoeuver their vehicles.

Options – The great thing about driving, like other hobbies and skills in life, is that there are always ways you can improve. A single truck driving lesson is not enough to master all of the subtle requirements of this specialized type of driving. Look into course options, individual lessons, and other learning strategies that are available through the driving school so that you can continue to grow and develop your knowledge.

Not Free – Everybody loves a good deal, but remember that cost is usually directly tied to quality. The value of effective driving lessons cannot be underestimated, so do not use price as your deciding factor for your driving school. If “free training” is being used as a selling point, be cautious. Ask about what is included and note that someone, in some way or another, is definitely paying for the training. Most schools offer flexible payment options and scholarships, so inquire about that if price is a concern.

Placement Numbers – Do not be shy to ask for more information about how many people get jobs after completing the driving course. Inquire about the outcomes for other alumni including what companies they are employed by and how long they were looking for jobs following graduation.

Find the Best Truck Driving School

Ready to enroll for your truck driving lessons in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Langley, Coquitlam or Surrey? Contact North Shore Driving School for reputable and experienced instructors, well-developed and specialized curriculum, and plenty of course options. From dedicated GLP courses to refresher options or individual lessons, we are committed to providing quality education.

Call our truck driving school in North Vancouver at 604-299-9292 to learn more about our truck driving courses or to register for your next driving lesson. Get in touch with our driving schools and get answers to your questions when you contact us online.0