Maintaining switchbacks important for vehicle traction

Safety Alert Type: 
Log Hauling
Near Burton, BC (Arrow Lakes region)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Pilot Point Forest Consultants
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The loaded logging truck was on its second trip of the day from a landing immediately above a tight 15% switchback. It was observed by the loader operator that the inner rear tractor tires started to lift as it went around the switchback. The driver noticed some slight skidding followed by the trailer sliding toward the outer edge of the switchback. The trailer tires hit a high snow berm and the trailer tipped over, flipping the tractor over on its right side. The snow berm kept both units from rolling over the bank down a 40% slope. 

The first trip had been uneventful as the road had been graded to gravel. On the second trip the road condition had changed, due to temperature and traffic, to become slippery in spots. The truck was chained up on the four rear drivers but not on the trailer. The investigation indicated that the switchback was outsloped from 6% up to 10%. The road had been built and used three years before but not since that time. The driver was wearing his seat belt and was not injured but the truck sustained considerable damage.


Learnings and Suggestions: 


  • Ensure that there is continued maintenance of the road surface on risky spots such as switchbacks by grading or application of salt.
  • Truck drivers should be encouraged to personally check for changing conditions on potential problem spots and to consider extra chaining if deemed necessary.
  • On control points such as switchbacks, closer post-construction inspection is required to ensure it has been built to an acceptable long-term standard (i.e. minimal outsloping).
  • Prior to re-using an existing road, inspections are recommended to ensure the road meets acceptable standards.
  • Always use seatbelts!


For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information, please call Rick Johnson 250-365-9983


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