A Really Bad Trip

On November 29/06, I was scheduled to go to Grande Prairie, with a load. I would normally get my switch between midnight and 2 AM in the morning. The weather have been bad in Vancouver so I had anticipated the load being late in to Prince George and I never went to bed until around 8 PM that evening. After 8 hours sleep, I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep so I got up and played around on the computer for an hour.

Then I phoned the Warehouse to see if my switch driver had phoned, they were supposed to call from Quesnel and let us know they will be in. This gives us an hour and a half to get ready, get our truck warmed up and be ready to go.

That morning the temperature was hovering around –30C, so I though, 'I might just as well get bundled up and get the truck running and ready to go.' When I pulled the dipstick, that morning, the oil on it had the consistence of gear lube. The block heater had been doing its job and it fired right up, it wasn’t long before I had heat. I took it for a little drive to get some oil moving in the transmission and differentials, because at this temperature it would be a little stiff, its not a good idea to hook up to a load and go trucking on dry diff’s.

I finally got my load and headed north. It was a nice clear morning and at that temperature, it was good trucking. I got to Grand Prairie, had a sleep while they unloaded me and headed home.

The weather was still cold and as I went through Dawson Creek, it started snowing and it was dusting up, so in anticipation of a snowstorm through the Pine Pass, I put the yellow lens on my driving lights at the East Pine brake check, because the sun was already dipping into the horizon and it would be dark in an hour.

After I left Chetwynd, it really started to snow and it was blowing. When you meet a truck or any other vehicle, it was a white out.

I have found over the year, under these condition, when you meet another vehicle, especial a truck, you slow down and anticipated where you are going to meet it and know where the road goes after you met it. The first instinct, after you are met the other vehicle and are blinded, is to turn the wheel to the left. You know you have more of the road there, but this can be dangerous if there is a vehicle behind it. If you hold the wheel straight and look down at the road, you will usually pick it up.

There was a lot of chatter on the radio that night. “How far north or south does this snow go?” the answers were always, the same, “north to Dawson Creek or south to Prince George.”

With thee snow was blowing around you; some time you would start to catch up to another vehicle and think it was just snowing harder until it went around a corner and you could see it’s lights, up ahead. You slowed down; passing in these conditions is not an option. You see the glow of head-lights behind you and you know the driver can’t see you, the back of your trailer would be packed in snow and looked just like what he’s driving into. You turn on the backup lights, hoping he can see then in the swirling snow.

You would love to stop and clean off your taillights, but in these conditions it would to dangerous and they would only be covered over in five minuets. So for 6 hours, 200 miles you drive on the edge of your seat. Praying to what ever God, you think might do you the most good, under these conditions.

Then after what seems to be a lifetime, I’m home and in one piece.