Winter driving tips from a pro: truck drivers, be prepared

An East York driving instructor says 'pay attention to your tires'

Deshaun Rajan, instructor at A Great Toronto Truck Driving School, says always have extra winter wipers and windshield fluid in your truck during the winter.
Deshaun Rajan, instructor at A Great Toronto Truck Driving School, says always have extra winter wipers and windshield fluid in your truck during the winter. (Anussa Nithyananthan)

Start your engines early this time of year, specially if you drive a truck. Winter hits hard in Toronto.  The last thing you need is to be stranded in the cold without any help.

Deshaun Rajan from A Great Toronto Truck Driving School on 1616 O’Connor Drive in East York, feels that proper tire conditions are very important when driving in the winter.

Rajan also tells his students to make sure all the brakes are functioning properly. Carrying a lot of windshield liquid and an extra windshield blade is ideal for snowy days.

Another thing to beware of when driving on the highways or highly used roads, he says, is to know the difference between black ice and normal ice. This part can be tricky.

Black ice is usually formed during the early mornings or at night, when the temperatures reach their lowest. Black ice is also formed on roads that aren’t heavily used. Bridges are another place where black ice can form.

When driving in the winter, says Rajan, make sure to pack extra winter tires in your truck in case one of them gets punctured or is flat.

Last month, some TTC buses couldn’t go up hills on Feb. 2 after a snowstorm, because the roads were not cleared, and the buses do not have winter tires installed.

Trucks also have this same problem.

“I advise my students, I tell them that we always have fluids and tools in a well equipped truck,” Rajan says.

He also mentions being aware of the speed limit when driving a truck in the winter.

“I also tell them, when changing gears, always be careful and look at blind spots. And also, look for pedestrians.”