Don't Try This At Home

Topic 13163 | Page 1

Page 1 of 1
Dave B Flying's Comment
member avatar

Sometime back in the early 80's, I don't remember the year, I was slowly trudging my way back home to Cleveland, Oh from Dundalk Marine Terminal in Baltimore, MD the day after a nasty winter storm. Me and several other drivers were rolling W on I-70. We had just crested the top of Town Hill along the north slope of Emmaville Mountain on I-70 and started making our way down into Breezewood, PA. It was early and there weren't many trucks rolling due to the aftermath of the storm. Roads were very spotty in places and I broke traction a few times trying to get up that hill. None of us carried snow chains nor were they required. We actually had intelligent conversations on the CB radio back then and as we got closer to Breezewood, we could hear some other drivers on the radio warning us about ice on about the last mile of that hill before Breezewood. It was suggested that we pull over and think twice about coming down until the salt shaker had made a pass.

Somewhere in this conversation, compounded by sitting for over 30 minutes waiting on the salt truck, I decided in all my new found wisdom that if the other driver had made it down, I could too. I was told that although there were long stretches of ice, there were also some stretches in between of dryer pavement especially near the end. We decided to go down the hill one at a time and I decided that I would go first. I started to make my way down ever so slowly and as I came up on the first stretch of ice, I came to a complete stop before proceeding any further. I let off the brakes and she started to roll. No words can express the regret that I felt as my truck slowly started to roll down that hill and gain speed. I believe that I had it in 3rd or 4th and as the truck started to gain speed the RPM's started going higher and after awhile the engine can no longer hold you back if there is no traction underneath and your tandems start to slide. I slapped into a higher gear so the wheels would stop sliding and I had hit nearly 45 mph before I came upon what looked to be one of those dry spots.

I hit the brakes as hard and as smoothly as I could and got down to almost 20 before I ran out of dry pavement and had to release the brakes and let her roll again. Best I can remember, this maneuver was repeated probably 3 or 4 times before hitting the final dry stretch before the stoplight. With my heart racing and feeling like it was going to come out of my chest, I got on the radio and told the other drivers that I had made it but if I had to do it again that I probably would have waited for the salt truck. I also told them precisely what to expect and to attempt it at their own risk. That was a long time ago and If I remember correctly, 2 other drivers followed in my foolish footsteps before the others had been graced with the arrival of a salt truck. The other 2 drivers who slid down the hill along with 1 or 2 others who had heard it all over the radio and I sat down for coffee at what was then the 76 Truck Stop and proceeded to exchange stories.

In conclusion I would like to say that I was a young guy back then who had much to prove to the world before acquiring the true wisdom that only comes with time and experience. I have had many other experiences in my early days of truck driving that have made for some great tales at the truck stop but in hindsight, they were foolish decisions that could have cost me my life. Some of my decisions were rooted in a lack of proper training. Driving schools were rare back then. You had to know someone that was willing to teach you how to drive a semi and the requirements were less stringent and mostly at the discretion of the employers. The best thing I can say about those parts of my career is that I survived it.

I posted this in another post and I would like to post it again. When it comes to making decisions I ask myself 4 questions:

1. What is the best thing that will happen if I do this? 2. What is worst thing that will happen if I do this? 3. What is the best thing that will happen if I don't do this? 4. What is the worst thing that will happen if I don't do this?

Remember: A smart driver is always learning

In aviation we have a metaphor that can be applied to trucking. There are old pilots and there are bold pilots. But there are no "Old Bold" pilots.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Dave: Did you ever drive for either Emeryville Trucking, Team Transport, Aero Trucking, or Nick Strimbu? Seems to me that I remember that night you described in your post. Not fun!

Thanks for the questions we should ask ourselves, and for the metaphor. The account of that night set up both perfectly.

Stay Safe!

Kris F.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Dave for your knowledge i appreciate it.

Dave B Flying's Comment
member avatar

Dave: Did you ever drive for either Emeryville Trucking, Team Transport, Aero Trucking, or Nick Strimbu? Seems to me that I remember that night you described in your post. Not fun!

Thanks for the questions we should ask ourselves, and for the metaphor. The account of that night set up both perfectly.

Stay Safe!

No, I can't say that I drove for any of those people.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Page 1 of 1

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