First Winter!

Topic 16776 | Page 2

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Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Sue's vocabulary includes:

I'm stressing ... I don't feel I got enough winter driving experience ... apprehension ....

Yes Ma'm! But ya know, if you know and understand the things in this thread, you can switch all that worryness over to:

respect

Because now you'll know what to do when the road gets icy.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

I've never been bothered by snow and ice in a 4 wheeler and have driven in the stuff since the dinosaur age (the '70's), but this aint no 4 wheeler lol.. Respect would definitely be an appropriate term.

Thomas F. S.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Sue, just wanted to say Hi! I have been reading some of your posts. I start orientation on Monday at West Side in Cedar Rapids. I am a little nervous and yet excited at the same time. I live just northeast of Cedar Rapids. I went to a local community college for the CDL course and graduated this week. I like seeing your posts about West Side.

If I make it to having a instructor, I hope I get a good decent one. I have read horror stories of new drivers getting instructors that are only in it for the money or are mean. I suppose with any job, they have their good people and not so good people. I was wondering. I asked the recruiter and she said yes that we get to bring the trucks home or to the closest truck stops to leave on our days off. Do you know if we can bring a truck to the house?

Hope to hear from ya and any advice you can give before I start I will appreciate. Also, when you stayed at the Clarion, did you have to room with someone?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Kemo's Comment
member avatar

If you have an inter-lock engage it. For starters only engage or disengage when stopped. NEVER engage an inter-lock or lockers while drive tires are spinning, this will cause catastrophic damage. While you can engage lockers while you are moving it is suggested you don't because of the potential damage you can do to your rear end if done when any tire is slipping/spinning. If you do not have the option to stop such as a sudden blizzard with no available turn outs, release the throttle don't put any fuel, coast for a little letting the rpms drop some, engage interlock, give another second or so and continue on. and I would say while going straight only. There is a difference between an inter-lock dif and full lockers, never use full lockers if turning is going to be involved, they will push you right off of the road you won't be able to turn. Most of the switches are labled but if you aren't sure which is which, ask someone to show you :D you can turn fine with just the inter-lock engaged.

I've grown up here in Alaska, now like Sue I can say I've done plenty of driving in the winter in a 4 wheeler. My first winter truck driving? Super apprehensive, scared even. Esp when I thought about some of the 45° hills we have downtown, which if I'm truckin in the winter, I'll be going on those. Luckily most of them aren't too long in distance (some are just not as steep) just for a minute they are suuuuper steep and we are expected to drive up/down them because we ARE the snow removal =/. Probably what freaked me out the most was that going down the same steep grade loaded (I was scared but it was fine no issues) was worst empty (even more scared!)! It made sense when I thought about it. But when I went down empty I went down knowing it was going to be steep/icy and started down about the same speed I did loaded, truck almost immediately completely lost traction and I began to slide accelerate down and skid sideways. I was basically along for the ride, depressed my clutch, tried to do some stab breaking and turn into the skid. (stab breaking is not recommended, your rig likely has ABS on the tractor and trailer which will do this for you in a skid, mine does not) Luckily city snow haul is with a solo end dump so no trailer. So while it was freaky and got the heart pumpin' it was okay. After the grade smoothed out a little to where it wasn't so steep I was able to slow down and regain control. Mind you this was over the course of maybe 6 seconds and 150ft nothing astronomical.

Either way loaded or unloaded, go slower, leave more room, watch out for 4wheelers more than usual as their accident rates increase in winter but their driving abilities don't lol, if you come across any chain up areas stop and pull over into them. Talk to the other drivers that may be there about what is ahead if you haven't been through there before. Many tips the other folk have given are great tips. I am especially weary of the roads when it seems wet and not icy in the day but it is bout 31-36°F, any shaded areas like underneath bridges or behind tall buildings/trees etc are more than likely going to be icy but you might not be able to see/tell until you drive over it, once that sun goes down you can expect any water on the roads to turn back into ice. I always assume it is icy under those conditions even if it appears it isn't. I personally prefer that if the temperatures are hanging out in the mid to low 30's I don't want to drive during or around sunset, wet ice is THE WORST!

As far as people saying "it is better to drive when it's under 30°F" I would say that is ONLY if you are in an area that has been consistently under 30°F for an extended period of time VS an area that has been fluctuating temperatures from above to below freezing regularly. You are more likely to only run into snow whether it is fresh or packed, anything is better than ice and/or wet ice.

When in doubt, pull out......to the closest safe place to stop you can find lol. You'll get a hang of what the weather and road is telling you. I'm sure I just made it seem worst than it really is lol. Really though run of the mill winter driving really isn't that bad.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Awesome Thomas and im looking forward to meeting you sometime.

YES you can take your truck home with you. For apartment dwellers and home owners with not enough room for parking, our safety department will assist drivers in locating legal parking for your hometime if necessary. There is room at cedar rapids to leave a personal vehicle if you live nearby and choose to do that.

If you do orientation in. CR, bring swim trunks! Youll stay at the clarion and they have an indoor pool and fitness room. Breakfast there is really good too and the restaurants food is excellent.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Also YES, students share rooms. Clarion is all non smoking but can smoke outside. If you really want your own room you can pay for half the room yourself.

Whatever you do, dont have non west side people in your room and STAY AWAY FROM THE BAR downstairs.. Or any other bar and no alcohol consumption on your downtime. They WILL send you packing. After you are solo an adult beverage while at HOME is ok.

Phoenix's Comment
member avatar

Ok, maybe I'm just not understanding, but not using the jake on downgrades worries..no, TERRIFIES me. How do you keep the rig at a safe speed without melting your brakes if the jake is not an option? This will be my first winter and I cannot say I'm looking forward to this part of the learning curve. Is it June yet? shocked.pngsmile.gif

JakeBreak's Comment
member avatar

Ok, maybe I'm just not understanding, but not using the jake on downgrades worries..no, TERRIFIES me. How do you keep the rig at a safe speed without melting your brakes if the jake is not an option? This will be my first winter and I cannot say I'm looking forward to this part of the learning curve. Is it June yet? shocked.pngsmile.gif

Just take it really slow. My 10 speed I can drop it into 8th and I can keep it below 45 without the jakes. When you are in lower gears and going slow it takes more for your brakes to heat up. I will admit I haven't tested this on any major grades but that is the strategy I used to drive through that snowmaggedon storm last year.

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.
Carlos J.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the reply, Kemo. IT appears my truck does have an interlock switch :D. I Try to keep my driving during the day hrs, in the winter there seems to be more reason to do so it seems. Wet ice sounds like terrible news. You're not the first to tell me it's not as bad as it all sounds. .. but it all is pretty alien to someone like me lol.

If you have an inter-lock engage it. For starters only engage or disengage when stopped. NEVER engage an inter-lock or lockers while drive tires are spinning, this will cause catastrophic damage. While you can engage lockers while you are moving it is suggested you don't because of the potential damage you can do to your rear end if done when any tire is slipping/spinning. If you do not have the option to stop such as a sudden blizzard with no available turn outs, release the throttle don't put any fuel, coast for a little letting the rpms drop some, engage interlock, give another second or so and continue on. and I would say while going straight only. There is a difference between an inter-lock dif and full lockers, never use full lockers if turning is going to be involved, they will push you right off of the road you won't be able to turn. Most of the switches are labled but if you aren't sure which is which, ask someone to show you :D you can turn fine with just the inter-lock engaged.

I've grown up here in Alaska, now like Sue I can say I've done plenty of driving in the winter in a 4 wheeler. My first winter truck driving? Super apprehensive, scared even. Esp when I thought about some of the 45° hills we have downtown, which if I'm truckin in the winter, I'll be going on those. Luckily most of them aren't too long in distance (some are just not as steep) just for a minute they are suuuuper steep and we are expected to drive up/down them because we ARE the snow removal =/. Probably what freaked me out the most was that going down the same steep grade loaded (I was scared but it was fine no issues) was worst empty (even more scared!)! It made sense when I thought about it. But when I went down empty I went down knowing it was going to be steep/icy and started down about the same speed I did loaded, truck almost immediately completely lost traction and I began to slide accelerate down and skid sideways. I was basically along for the ride, depressed my clutch, tried to do some stab breaking and turn into the skid. (stab breaking is not recommended, your rig likely has ABS on the tractor and trailer which will do this for you in a skid, mine does not) Luckily city snow haul is with a solo end dump so no trailer. So while it was freaky and got the heart pumpin' it was okay. After the grade smoothed out a little to where it wasn't so steep I was able to slow down and regain control. Mind you this was over the course of maybe 6 seconds and 150ft nothing astronomical.

Either way loaded or unloaded, go slower, leave more room, watch out for 4wheelers more than usual as their accident rates increase in winter but their driving abilities don't lol, if you come across any chain up areas stop and pull over into them. Talk to the other drivers that may be there about what is ahead if you haven't been through there before. Many tips the other folk have given are great tips. I am especially weary of the roads when it seems wet and not icy in the day but it is bout 31-36°F, any shaded areas like underneath bridges or behind tall buildings/trees etc are more than likely going to be icy but you might not be able to see/tell until you drive over it, once that sun goes down you can expect any water on the roads to turn back into ice. I always assume it is icy under those conditions even if it appears it isn't. I personally prefer that if the temperatures are hanging out in the mid to low 30's I don't want to drive during or around sunset, wet ice is THE WORST!

As far as people saying "it is better to drive when it's under 30°F" I would say that is ONLY if you are in an area that has been consistently under 30°F for an extended period of time VS an area that has been fluctuating temperatures from above to below freezing regularly. You are more likely to only run into snow whether it is fresh or packed, anything is better than ice and/or wet ice.

When in doubt, pull out......to the closest safe place to stop you can find lol. You'll get a hang of what the weather and road is telling you. I'm sure I just made it seem worst than it really is lol. Really though run of the mill winter driving really isn't that bad.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Phoenix's Comment
member avatar
Just take it really slow. My 10 speed I can drop it into 8th and I can keep it below 45 without the jakes. When you are in lower gears and going slow it takes more for your brakes to heat up. I will admit I haven't tested this on any major grades but that is the strategy I used to drive through that snowmaggedon storm last year.

When I'm light, keeping it below45 isn't an issue, but loaded, I can't keep it below 45 WITH the jake in the second position. In the 3rd position, it'll just keep slowing me down till I'm backing up the hill I'm trying to go down...o.k. till I'm at a complete stop. :-) I've gotten to the point where I play with the 3rd position all the way down. On for a sec, off till I've sped up 5-10mph, on for a sec...and so on. So...without the jake? I just can't see it. confused.gif

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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