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Drivers Share Their Best Tips, Tricks, And Secrets For Life On The Road

Brett Aquila on Tue, July 18, 2017

When you've been out on the road for a while you learn some tips, tricks, and techniques that make life so much easier. You think to yourself, "Man, if only I had known that all this time! Why didn't someone tell me??"

Well now we're telling you! Here are a bunch of great tips from our experienced drivers that are definitely going to help you out. These came from a forum conversation we're having, and we'd love for you to stop by and add your own tips, tricks, and techniques to the mix for our next article. Here's the link:

Forum Conversation: Tips, Tricks, And Techniques For Rookie Drivers

When you do a really tight U-turn (technically, your tractor has to be less than 90 degrees to the trailer on the side you're turning toward) , at one point your trailer actually starts to go backward. If you're not careful, you can end up hitting something behind you or swiping something with your trailer overhang.

Pianoman

If one of the tandem pins won't release, try turning the steering wheel and rocking the tractor. This happened once to us, where one pin wouldn't release. My husband tried and tried to no avail and we didn't have anything to hammer it with. I took a really close look at that pin and it seemed to me that it was rubbing tight at the front of the little square hole. I got in the driver's seat, turned the wheels to the left and started rocking the truck in drive ( I'd have used reverse if rubbing at the back of the hole). Maybe it was coincidence, but it worked, and pretty quickly.

Phoenix

Whenever you're going to park for the night or drop a trailer in below freezing temperatures, drag the trailer brakes lightly as you go through the parking lot for a few moments to heat them up enough to evaporate any water that might be sitting on them. That will help prevent the brake shoes from freezing to the drums overnight.

Brett Aquila

  • Pour windex over the tires to melt the ice to get better traction
  • Lowering the visors will help keep the heat near the windshield in the winter to defrost n defog
  • There's a power switch on the floor by drivers seat that shuts off all power to the truck. When my friend got assigned his truck he thought the battery was dead. When mine didn't start I looked for a switch ... eureka!!
  • always scale with the brakes released
  • I knew a driver who was REALLY nervous going through the toll booth up north that are kinda narrow and don't have the express pass. Take the far right toll booth made for "wide loads". It will be less stressful in the beginning.
Rainy
  • If moving the tandems "precisely" is required, I determine the distance from where the are currently set to the hole where I need them to be by walking-off the gap. If it's two lengths of my foot, I mark by placing a coin on the ground, that same distance from the front edge of the cab step under the door, either ahead of or behind it. I'll move the truck either forward or back until the front edge of the step is even with the coin. It always works, the first time. A time saver.
  • When dropping an empty in the packed snow/ice; use the differential lock-out (only engage this when fully stopped) so both drives are applying tractive force and override traction control so the wheels will spin. I have "never" gotten stuck using this technique. I know...never say "never".
G-Town
  • If you are getting loaded, don't push the chock up against the wheel, leave about half an inch gap. As the trailer gets heavier, the tires squat, and that will pinch the chock in. The only way out is to back up the trailer a bit (but it's already backed up to the dock!!) and kick it out.
  • To check any leaf spring for cracks, tap it with a hammer (not a tire thump, but a tap!). A good spring will ring, a broken one will buzz or go "thunk".
Errol

When backing into a dock that is angled downward. Don't hit the brakes hard. I did this once on a steep dock. Shifted 26 pallets of milk, thankfully my load bars held strong so I didn't have 5,000 gallons of milk busted on the trailer floor.

Joseph D

Winter time tip. When you are dealing with light snow don't use your defrosters. Put the heat straight to the floor and crack a window open. Then when you use your wipers the snow doesn't stick to them and they do a better job of helping you see. If it's a really wet or heavy snow it doesn't work tho

Jakebrake

I made a "flag" from a paper clip and some reflective tape. I hang it above the steering wheel so that I can't drive while it's there. I do this when I'm docked and they make me do something that has to be changed before I can roll. Chock the wheels, disconnect the air lines, lower the landing gear, etc. When I see the flag I know there is something that I have to do before I even turn the key.

Rob F

If you do nothing else for a post trip, check your tires. I was spent the night on a flat that could have been ready to roll in the morning. Instead, I was tired and just crawled in the bunk. Saw it in the morning and had to wait a couple hours on the repair.

Rob S

When you are given a king pin lock to put on, don't remove the bag it's in, if it's handed to you in a [plastic] bag; the grease will keep the bag adhered to the lock. That way the person who removes the lock will keep their hands reasonably clean, and it can be returned in the same bag that it came in.

Pete B

Tandem sliding tips: If you can see how far back freight is loaded to, put the center of your tandems at the end of the freight.

Big Scott

Play around with your Jake brakes when you can safely do so. By knowing exactly how much stopping power the Jakes have, you can effectively save your brake lining by using your jakes to slow you down instead of the service brake. Just be careful when going down a steep grade and NEVER use the Jakes in slick conditions.

UnholyChaos

We know you experienced drivers have a ton of these to share so don't be shy! Come to our conversation and adds your in there and we'll publish them in the next article:

Forum Conversation: Tips, Tricks, And Techniques For Rookie Drivers

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Advice For New Truck Drivers First Solo Months On The Road Hard Lessons Learned Safe Driving Tips

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