Is Winter Driving On Your Mind?

Topic 10127 | Page 1

Page 1 of 3 Next Page Go To Page:
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Winter is around the corner and every new driver is worried about it. How is trucking in the winter? When do you shut down and will they get mad if you do? A million thoughts rush through your mind, I was there.

Not pushing through inclement weather will not make them think any differently of you. Its not worth it for the company to risk losing hundreds of thousands of dollars just to get a load in on time. They can always reschedule. Pushing through inclement weather is just about the worst thing you can do on the road in my opinion. Driving in conditions that are dangerous will eventually end your career and maybe even your life. Would you really risk your life for boxes of macaroni and cheese?

I sure as heck wouldn't. Those boxes can wait a day. At the end of the day my goal is to be alive to be able to support my family. And I won't risk my family losing me just to prove to some guy at a desk that I'm reliable. The company also doesn't want you to push through inclement weather. They have enough accidents each year and they want to avoid as much as possible.

So please, everyone reading this. Do not think that you're any less of a driver for stopping when conditions get ugly. If anything, you're a better driver than the guy going 60 mph who will get his load in on time but risk everything in exchange. The good drivers are the ones who use their head.

I will drive through rain. I will drive through snow. I won't drive through a blizzard and I won't be driving if I'm required to put on chains. In all honesty, I don't think we get paid enough to put on chains and drive down a steep grade with 79,000 pounds behind our backs. I won't drive if I feel like I'm risking my life. I'm 23 and have a bright future (at least I think) with my wonderful wife, no way I'm going to risk losing what I am blessed with just so walmart can have their product.

The more strict you are when it comes to safety then the safer you'll be.

In the end the person who makes the decision is you. You're the captain of the ship and what you say goes. Your DM has absolutely no say in whether or not you should or shouldn't drive. Drive when you feel comfortable. Go ahead and drive 15 mph with those chains on while they tear apart your tires. You'll be wasting your 70 hour clock driving super slow and making no money in return. Ill be in the truck stop sipping my hot tea talking with my family and watching TV. Meanwhile you'll be holding onto the steering wheel with your life.

I want to go the extra mile here. I want you to know what you'll be getting paid with those chains on.

Lets say my trucks maximum speed is 60mph and I get .30cpm. If you do the math, that means if I drive exactly 60mph nonstop for a full hour I will make 18$ per hour.

Now lets say you decided to drive with chains on. A safe speed is about 20 mph so lets use that with the same pay. So if you drive with chains on going exactly 20mph for a full hour nonstop. You will have made 6$ for that hour. Lets no forget those hours spent wrestling with those chains. You also wasted time off your 70 hour clock. You risked your life, wrestled with heavy chains, just so you can make 6$ per hour.

So I ask. Who is the fool and who is the wise one? The one who sat comfortably at the truck stop or the one who is so determined to get his load in on time so he can be viewed as dependable meanwhile risking his entire life and career.

Like we always says. If the weather is terrible today, chances are tomorrow morning it'll be clear and perfect for driving. So why not wait?

I hope I made my point. If you don't feel safe driving, then don't drive.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

I am in the debate of going OTR. And after training it would put me solo in December. I am really not wanting to take mountains in the winter without having mountain experience during "normal" conditions. So that has me a bit worried. I may live in Texas, but I lived 17 years in Michigan and drove through all that Lake Effect snow. I can handle snow like its just another day when I am in a 4-wheeler. But 70k+ lbs behind me has me a bit worried. Every year there were massive Accidents on US-131 Between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. And on I-94 Between Chicago and Detroit. All that is flat. So it has me kind of worried about the mountains. Even though I am pretty sure 90% of the accidents through there were cause by Cars, not semi trucks.

Here's my perspective, when I started trucking I never even been outside of California. I never drove in the snow, not even in a car! My family was poor so we hardly ever went on any trips. I had only seen snow about 2 times in my 21 years of life and when I did see it, it was something to play in - not drive on. When we went on the few trips that we did I wasn't old enough to drive so my parents always drove.

When I got on my trainers truck in December it was all new to me. First time I drove in snow was in New York state near Christmas Day.

So I ask you, with all your previous experience in Michigan, why do you doubt yourself? Trucking is never easy no matter what month or season it is.

Rookies have 1 advantage over everyone else on the road in the winter time. Sounds odd that I would say that, but think about it. Rookies have the element of fear. Fear is a good thing, it keeps you from doing stupid things and makes you drive extra safe. Fear makes you drive 30mph when everyone else is doing 60mph. Now obviously you can't tremble, but a healthy amount of fear will always do you good. The slower the safer you are. The super truckers are the biggest problem in the winter time. They have no fear and they've driven the road a million times before, so it seems their logic is because they've survived this dangerous road a million times in their past that they can drive it like its dry. Eventually, one day, their luck runs out.

Also, I am a big supporter of going solo in the winter time (very debatable subject). Its nice to learn how to drive with an experienced driver at your side coaching you. You may have gone solo in the summer time, but theres a lot of bad habits you've accumulated by driving in those forgiving conditions. You have to drive differently in the winter time, you have more things to worry about and a longer list of what you can and cannot do.

Example, in the summer time people use their jake brakes on curves. What if I told you that doing that during the winter time quadruples your chances of jack knifing?

You want the benefit of having someone who has "been there done that" with you in your times that you don't know what you're doing. Learning how to drive in the snow/ice the hard way can be the last mistake you'll ever make.

If I were you, I would want to go solo in January. That way you have your trainer with you on December and he can at least coach you through the adverse conditions that December presents. You'll learn how to do it all in December, and when you go solo in January it won't all be new to you.

Take a look at it from a different perspective... You may end up changing your mind.

Wanna know how trucking is like in December? Click here!

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
The Persian Conversion's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for posting this Daniel, I've already had many of these same thoughts in anticipation of my first winter. It's nice to know that my thinking is valid.

I'm 23 and have a bright future (at least I think) with my wonderful wife, no way I'm going to risk losing what I am blessed with just so walmart can have their product.

By the way, nice shout out to Mrs. B.

smile.gif

ThisOneGuy's Comment
member avatar

I am in the debate of going OTR. And after training it would put me solo in December. I am really not wanting to take mountains in the winter without having mountain experience during "normal" conditions. So that has me a bit worried. I may live in Texas, but I lived 17 years in Michigan and drove through all that Lake Effect snow. I can handle snow like its just another day when I am in a 4-wheeler. But 70k+ lbs behind me has me a bit worried. Every year there were massive Accidents on US-131 Between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. And on I-94 Between Chicago and Detroit. All that is flat. So it has me kind of worried about the mountains. Even though I am pretty sure 90% of the accidents through there were cause by Cars, not semi trucks.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

I am in the debate of going OTR. And after training it would put me solo in December. I am really not wanting to take mountains in the winter without having mountain experience during "normal" conditions. So that has me a bit worried. I may live in Texas, but I lived 17 years in Michigan and drove through all that Lake Effect snow. I can handle snow like its just another day when I am in a 4-wheeler. But 70k+ lbs behind me has me a bit worried. Every year there were massive Accidents on US-131 Between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. And on I-94 Between Chicago and Detroit. All that is flat. So it has me kind of worried about the mountains. Even though I am pretty sure 90% of the accidents through there were cause by Cars, not semi trucks.

Here's my perspective, when I started trucking I never even been outside of California. I never drove in the snow, not even in a car! My family was poor so we hardly ever went on any trips. I had only seen snow about 2 times in my 21 years of life and when I did see it, it was something to play in - not drive on. When we went on the few trips that we did I wasn't old enough to drive so my parents always drove.

When I got on my trainers truck in December it was all new to me. First time I drove in snow was in New York state near Christmas Day.

So I ask you, with all your previous experience in Michigan, why do you doubt yourself? Trucking is never easy no matter what month or season it is.

Rookies have 1 advantage over everyone else on the road in the winter time. Sounds odd that I would say that, but think about it. Rookies have the element of fear. Fear is a good thing, it keeps you from doing stupid things and makes you drive extra safe. Fear makes you drive 30mph when everyone else is doing 60mph. Now obviously you can't tremble, but a healthy amount of fear will always do you good. The slower the safer you are. The super truckers are the biggest problem in the winter time. They have no fear and they've driven the road a million times before, so it seems their logic is because they've survived this dangerous road a million times in their past that they can drive it like its dry. Eventually, one day, their luck runs out.

Also, I am a big supporter of going solo in the winter time (very debatable subject). Its nice to learn how to drive with an experienced driver at your side coaching you. You may have gone solo in the summer time, but theres a lot of bad habits you've accumulated by driving in those forgiving conditions. You have to drive differently in the winter time, you have more things to worry about and a longer list of what you can and cannot do.

Example, in the summer time people use their jake brakes on curves. What if I told you that doing that during the winter time quadruples your chances of jack knifing?

You want the benefit of having someone who has "been there done that" with you in your times that you don't know what you're doing. Learning how to drive in the snow/ice the hard way can be the last mistake you'll ever make.

If I were you, I would want to go solo in January. That way you have your trainer with you on December and he can at least coach you through the adverse conditions that December presents. You'll learn how to do it all in December, and when you go solo in January it won't all be new to you.

Take a look at it from a different perspective... You may end up changing your mind.

Wanna know how trucking is like in December? Click here!

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm from California. I moved to Michigan, got married there. My wife (Ann) had never been west of Iowa. We moved to LA. She liked it when it snowed in the mountains of Los Angeles. She said as long as the snow stays up in the mountains we can keep an eye on it!
rofl-2.gif

The "fear" Daniel speaks of is the "fear the Lord" fear, which is more like respect. You know the slippery road can hurt you, so you adjust accordingly.

I wrote a "thought piece" on some winter driving in an earlier topic, I call it "Sleigh Ride"

Dave D. (Armyman)'s Comment
member avatar

I will drive through rain and snow, but if it is raining or snowing so hard that I can't see a foot in front of my face, I shut down, if only temporarily.

Dave

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Dave sets down his rule:

I will drive through rain and snow, but if it is raining or snowing so hard that I can't see a foot in front of my face, I shut down, if only temporarily.

There is a quality of Highly Reliable Organizations that is: Deference to Expertise.
In trucking, the expert decides whether to move the truck through weather. Three guesses who the expert for your truck is! (first two guesses don't count.)

You decide to proceed or pull over. No DM , dispatcher or FM will be able to contradict you.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I grew up outside of Buffalo, NY so I've driven in more than my fair share of snow. This is what I always try to stress to people which Daniel pointed out nicely:

Like we always says. If the weather is terrible today, chances are tomorrow morning it'll be clear and perfect for driving. So why not wait?

Most of the time a big storm is followed by beautiful weather. Many times I've gone to sleep during a snowstorm and woke up to bright, beautiful sunshine and not a cloud in the sky. You have the rest of your life to make all the money you can make. Don't get too caught up in this week's paycheck. Take a long term view and focus hard on safety.

Also, keep an eye on that weather radar screen. That should be one of your closest companions all year round. Those summertime thunderstorms in the Midwest or deep South can be violent! Always know the weather around you at all times.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jessica A-M's Comment
member avatar

This is one of the reasons I'm trying to go when I am for training. My only experience driving in icy conditions was when I was rolling (no brake, no gas) my Nissan Sentra down the street and fishtailing the whole way while I have other drivers just flying and sliding around me on the icy roads. So, I am hoping to get at least some inclement driving with a trainer in before I'm running free.

Matt W.'s Comment
member avatar

Having never driven in the snow this is something I've thought about a lot too. My biggest question would be how do you know when its just some snow and not to worry and when its too much snow get the hell off the road. I mean my guess is its time too shut down before the blizzard stage. What's safe and what's being to bold?

Page 1 of 3 Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More