DANGER: Winter conditions on BC’s highways

Safety Alert Type: 
Paved Roads
Highway 5 just North of Otter Creek (north Thompson region)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Stamer Logging Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Following a snowstorm on February 2, the highways were poorly maintained north of the town of Clearwater. There was compact snow and ice completely covering the highway. Early the following morning it was snowing again, on top of the already slippery conditions.

A buncherman was going to work in a company pick up and was following another northbound vehicle at a safe distance, when he noticed a southbound transport truck that appeared to swerve before meeting the vehicle in front of him. He immediately began slowing down.

The northbound vehicle in front of him just barely made it by in front of the transport truck which had lost all control.

The transport truck’s trailer was off the road and the truck was sideways sliding down the road towards the buncherman in the pickup. Finally the trailer flipped over after hitting a power pole, causing the truck to land on its side and slide down the highway until it stopped about 15 or 20 feet from the pickup’s front bumper (see photo in attached pdf).

The driver and sleeper team were able to get themselves out from the overturned tractor unit, where they were both standing on top of the cab, after having climbed out of the driver’s door. The pickup was parked with the four way flashers going and the headlights pointed at the overturned truck on the road, but visibility from the North was very poor.

Another southbound semi-truck came around the corner into view, and the buncherman determined that it was not safe to be on the road near the overturned truck. He yelled to the two men standing on top of the truck that they were likely to be hit by the oncoming truck and then he ran southward down the highway to the pickup.

The driver of the second semi-truck did see the wreck in time and safely stopped his vehicle.

This very easily could have resulted in serious injuries to several people or fatalities. We believe the first truck was travelling too fast for road conditions, and was in the wrong lane at least partially when he met the vehicle in front of the pickup and then he swerved to get back in his own lane and lost control of his vehicle.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Continually be aware of changing road conditions – especially in winter. SLOW DOWN. Everyone wants to make it home at night at the end of their work day.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Glenda Feller, Stamer Logging Ltd. (250) 672-9555

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