N00b Questions You (Probably) Have But Were Afraid To Ask!

Topic 19135 | Page 8

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Pianoman's Comment
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Plan B says:

I'd like to ask for any advice or tips on a situation that almost turned catastrophic on me a few weeks ago.

I completely agree with Rainy. You handled it well but probably should have been parked.

As far as the braking, you just learned the hard way why we're taught not to use the engine brake in slick conditions. Contrary to what your trainer said, it is best to stick to the service brakes when dealing with low-traction situations. If you feel you have enough traction to use the engine brake, lightly apply the service brake along with it to help avoid a tractor jackknife (I learned this from G-town--gotta give credit where it's due). If you do experience a tractor jackknife, the quickest way out is to apply throttle. It will disengage the engine brake just like you did and force the drives to start turning again hopefully before it's too late.

It's good that you were aware of the possibility of heating up your brakes too much, but don't let that fear keep you from using your service brakes.

I ended up using a pattern of staying off the brake until 15 mph and then applying brake till under 10 mph, over and over again until I got down the hill. I was very concerned about the brakes heating up, but I made it.

This is exactly the right thing to do. The combination of the low speeds, cold weather, and braking technique should keep the brakes from heating up too much. I don't know why the other Prime truck's trailer brakes caught fire, but they must have either been out of adjustment or the driver wasn't using the technique you were.

Great job keeping your cool! You kept your head and stayed in control of the situation. Very impressive.

Rainy D.'s Comment
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Rainy D.'s Comment
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Yep, im bumping this again for even newer newbies lol

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
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Ever notice how many cars spin out on bridge decks and typically hit the ditch or median rear-wheels first just past the bridge


I learned this the hard way years ago. Went backwards down a 15 foot deep ravine, and hit a hole at the bottom where they were going to install a drain grate, about 4' x 4'. Rolled over on the side. My first encounter with black ice as well.

Learned my lesson.

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
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Yep, im bumping this again for even newer newbies lol

I was wondering why this showed as a new post, but I'm glad it did, some good info to have.

So, the differential lock splits between the two axles, and doesn't split from side to side like a 4 wheeler? Or is it already a limited slip differential for side to side?

David John's Comment
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Regarding this post, now long ago ... PlanB ...


I wanted to point out that the breaking technique used by PlanB, apparently in complete conflict with his training, is exactly what the CDL manual (today) says should be done.

This is the way we are being taught in driver training.

High Road Training, page 47

Proper Braking Technique
Remember, the use of brakes on a long and/or steep downgrade is only a supplement to the braking effect of the engine. Once the vehicle is in the proper low gear, the following is the proper braking technique:

- Apply the brakes just hard enough to feel a definite slowdown.

- When your speed has been reduced to approximately 5 mph below your “safe” speed, release the brakes.
(This brake application should last about 3 seconds.)

- When your speed has increased to your “safe” speed, repeat the first two steps.

For example, if your “safe” speed is 40 mph, you would not apply the brakes until your speed reaches 40 mph. You now apply the brakes hard enough to gradually reduce your speed to 35 mph and then release the brakes. Repeat this as often as necessary until you have reached the end of the downgrade.

This Proper Braking technique is the correct approach to use for down hill. Jake braking should be used, but only when road conditions are good.

PlanB chose a safe driving speed, 15 mph. He applied brake pressure until slowing 5 mph below the safe speed, then released and repeated the process when the safe speed was again reached. This technique helps to prevent overheating.

It is also interesting that this Proper Breaking technique might now be well understood by the science community but less understood by drivers (?), or perhaps by some older drivers?
I know that the technique used for downhill breaking was taught differently in the past, and that some teachers and old videos incorrectly taught that riding the brakes all the way down the hill was best.

During my recent CDL training one OLD video stated that lightly holding the brakes ALL the way down the mountain was the BEST way to break inorder to prevent overheating. As is now understood, riding the breaks will cause overheating and possibly fire, even in freezing conditions.

I'd like to ask for any advice or tips on a situation that almost turned catastrophic on me a few weeks ago.

I am a new driver in Primes team driving (TnT) phase of training. I was traveling West bound on I-80 West of Cheyenne WY. Road conditions quickly deteriorated after I passed Cheyenne. High winds started blowing snow across the road. Temperature was below freezing and black ice warnings started flashing on highway signs. ...

- PlanB

It might also be noted that current training says that in the event the drive wheels lock up and slide, we should release the brakes and coast, steering as appropriate. Training indicates we should not tap/punch the accelerator to get the drive tires rolling.

I will admit the tap is intuitive, for me, however experience doing this in a Toyota 4Runner, Colorado high-country, once put me in the ditch. Experience in very different vehicle, I know, but enough for me.

In slowing in a coast, the breaks should release and the tires should roll without help. The tap can add forward motion and compound the skid.


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.


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated



Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Rainy D.'s Comment
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Heres another great thread for new drivers

Rainy D.'s Comment
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Oops forgot.the link sorry

Figure these two threads complement each other well

Tips n Tricks For New Drivers

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