Loose Gravel + Speed = Loss of Vehicle Control

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Alex Fraser Research Forest, Williams Lake, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The first 6.5 km of the Gavin Lake Road is a public highway. It is very windy, generally well-maintained and surfaced with gravel.

Following a recent grading, the road surface had a higher than normal component of loose gravel. A forestry worker, fairly new to the job and to driving forest roads, was driving an SUV at the normal speed limit for the road but lost control on a bend. He tried to correct but the vehicle fish-tailed, skidded and rolled up-side-down on a 1-2 m embankment below the road.

Fortunately, the vehicle wedged against a tree and the cab containing the driver and a passenger was not crushed. The driver and passenger sustained strains.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Loose gravel can cause a vehicle to behave like it is on ice. Drivers need to recognize that reduced speeds are necessary in such conditions to ensure sufficient traction and reaction time.

This fact will be added to our written Safe Work Procedures regarding driving on resource roads and be further emphasized during orientation and training. Ongoing feedback about safe practices, with an emphasis on safe driving, will continue to be provided to new workers by supervisors.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Cathy Koot, Research Coordinator UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest (250) 392-2207

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