Stranded trucker’s advice

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, December 2, 2021

To say that weather conditions recently in British Columbia have made for great difficulties would be a gross understatement. The washed-out highways leading to Vancouver have posed particular problems for long-haul truckers – and for all drivers – who have found themselves stranded.

Our Calgary coffee companion Clayton Stanwick has had over 25 years of experience driving semi trucks.

“I was very fortunate to not be driving in the area of B.C. that experienced the terrible mudslides, flooding and road washouts that occurred the last few weeks,” Clay says. “My heart is deeply saddened by what has happened, not only to the farmers in the flood, but to all affected by the disaster.”

Although he has not been caught up in the current B.C. situation, he has been stranded for other reasons, such as having to sit a long winter’s night in his truck in a remote part of Jasper because a truck accident up ahead had closed the highway.

I asked him if he had any advice for driving in dangerous times like these. Here are Clay’s ten potentially lifesaving suggestions for all drivers:

  1. Keep plenty of food, water, warm clothes, and winter footwear with you, just in case you are held up on the highway due to extreme weather or serious accident ahead that closes the roads.
  2. Keep a road map or GPS device with you to help you find alternative routes, but also check the road conditions before you start out in the area you will be driving in.
  3. If you have cell phone coverage, let someone know where you are stopped.
  4. Be sure you have plenty of fuel before you hit the road, in case you have to shut down somewhere.
  5. On snowy and icy roads, slow down and don’t drive too close to the car or truck in front of you.
  6. In the mountain country where there is always the possibility of snow or mud slides, keep your eyes open to this possibility.
  7. Most truckers have extra engine oil, antifreeze, and washer fluid with them, if needed, and it’s a good idea for cars and other small trucks to do the same.
  8. Most truckers have a set of tire chains with them, if needed.
  9. If possible, keep some tools with you, and especially a small shovel, and be willing to help other stranded motorists.
  10. Keep a positive attitude, and don’t let yourself be overcome with fear.

Don’t let yourself be overcome with fear? That brings us around immediately to the place of Clay’s treasured travelling companion. The former pastor puts it this way:

“For me, it is extremely important to remember that God is always with me in the truck or car, and I can talk to Him and ask for His guidance in every serious situation I encounter,” Clay says. “God loves every person and is very able and willing to guide you through the storm, if you will just ask Him to. While trucking in very difficult weather situations, I have trusted God to do things for me that I know were a direct answer to my prayer.”

Ah yes, Clay, God is our Travelling Companion in the journey of life, even when stranded along a washed-out B.C. highway. As the Bible says (Isaiah 41:10), “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God.” Thank you for this reminder.


© 2021 Warren Harbeck

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