A Special "Thank You" To StarCar For Some Great Advice That Helped Me Significantly!

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Mthrsupior aka Julia Bals's Comment
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thank-you-2.gif

One of the scariest things for me as a rookie, was not knowing how to descend declines. I'm still not sure how the percents work. Is a 6% grade steeper than a 12% grade? All I know is that I was always afraid that I would be in the wrong gear, and something bad would happen.shocked.png

To add insult to serious injury, I received all my training and started driving solo during winter, so I just knew that I was going to be on a steep decline, on icy roads, in a snow storm, in heavy traffic, with a heavy load at some point, sooner rather than later, and I was!

Sure enough, I was in the Kentucky Appalachians during a "bad snow storm" okay, I'll admit, it was a "blizzard" and the traffic was whizzing by me like it was 80 degrees out there. I ended up going past an accident going in the opposite direction, involving a semi sliding off the road, and got into a serious traffic jam, due to an accident in my direction, involving another Semi that rear-ended someone.wtf.gif

But I had the advice and wisdom of all of you behind me. I slowed down to a crawl, kept my distance, and on those pesky hills I kept one thing in mind...

Star once said "You can go down a hill too slow, as many times as you want; but you can only go down a hill too fast, ONCE!"

So, yes, I went down a few hills probably way too slow, but I got down them all, I never lost control, I never slid on the ice, and most importantly, I was totally calm and at ease. I wasn't stressed out, I allowed for the extra travel time, and I was able to arrive at my destination safely and on time.

Do I know what gear I need to be in for a 5% grade? No, but I know that it doesn't matter if I'm in the exact right gear, as long as I take it slow. Do I go too slow? Yep, sometimes, I do, but do I care? Nope, not a whit! Why? Because I know that I will make it to the bottom of the hill safely, and I'm gaining experience, so that next time, I'll know how fast and in what gear, I can take that decline, but until then, all those idiots behind me can go around. smile.gif

So Thank You Star! I can't tell you how much of a relief it is to know that it doesn't matter how slow I go, as long as I get down the hill safely. It has relieved soooo much stress, and anxiety, and made my life so much easier. thank-you.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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Going as slow as you'd like to down a hill is perfectly fine, but keep your eyes glued to those mirrors because people are going to come barreling down behind you and they may not make safe decisions when it comes to moving over. Some drivers act like they'll die if they have to touch the brakes for 5 seconds.

Sometimes you'll see someone in the right lane coming up on slower traffic and he won't let off a bit. He'll just keep on rollin and try to squeeze someone out from the lane next to them and force their way over just before getting to you. It's a foolish way to drive, but with 3 million+ trucks on the road you'll find your share of fools.

So don't assume someone is going to find a way to get around you. Watch those mirrors closely and if things start looking scary behind you be ready to get over onto the shoulder to give everyone enough room to squeeze by.

Just because you're driving safely doesn't mean others around you will be. And don't make the mistake of thinking danger only comes from the front or the sides. I've avoided numerous wrecks over the years by knowing what was going on behind me and getting myself into a safe position before I got caught up in someone else's mess.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Jason C.'s Comment
member avatar

First class advice from you guys. Thank youthank-you-2.gif

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

When taking hills....either up them or down them, there are a few pieces to the equations that decide for you what gear you should be in. Here are your solid equations: Engine size Transmission type (as in is it a 10 speed, 13 speed, 18 speed) Rear gears Here are the variables in the equation: Weight of truck, trailer, and load road conditions traffic conditions.

When its a hill I haven't been down before, and there aren't any signs telling me differently, I know that I can idle down at 35 mph in 5th gear, with both jakes spoutin'.

But one thing that they don't teach in school, and that I think is REALLY important to know is how to up or down shift when going down a hill. You may not think you will ever need to do it....I thought the same thing...and I've had to go up, and go down in gears more than once in my driving career.

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

And Thank You Julia for the pat on the back. For all of the stuff a driver needs to remember, I try to find little hints that will keep those little "wisdom buds" close at hand. And sharing our knowledge with new drivers is one way that we, as professional drivers can help bring forth more of what we want to see on the road. And we always hope, like many on here do, that we will meet up with some of the drivers from TT, so that we can shake the hand that typed the words, so to speak. And I like to get pics !!!! SO if any TT drivers get in my neck of the woods, your gonna get a mug shot if I can chase ya downshocked.png

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

A few formulas hold true that can be used time and time again on hills and grades you don't know and have never been on. Now let me preface this by saying these are the ones I use and seem to work for me. You will learn your own set of driving habits while on the road and hopeful they will be safe ones.

Though it does happen ,though rarely, you always have to go uphill before going down hill. Now that uphill part may have been 20 or 30 miles behind you. Its your job to remember the road you have traveled. It always holds true that you should start going down the hill at least 2 gears from the one you used to climb up. You can always up shift if your going to slow.

Never ever run full speed in hilly or mountainous country around blind curves or over the top of a hill that you have never been in before. Basically what I use and everyone should as its taught in every school every where is.......Never out drive your headlight (night time of course). If you can not stop within your headlight distance then your going to fast. That most times is 300 to 500 feet in front of you.

Thankfully most routes trucks go on there are some type of signs ,even ones with little info about the road,that will give you a hint as to what the road ahead of you is like. If you are running in an area you can not see at least 500 feet in front of you then slow down. I have heard to many times out here over the years "I came around a curve'...."I came over a hill..." "...There they were and I barely got stopped..." or worse.

Everyone have seen those yellow and black signs showing curve ahead and it has a recommended speed under it....THAT IS NOT FOR YOU!..... Those signs show the recommended speed for that curve for cars and small vehicles. For trucks I would suggest you slow down 5 to 10 mph under what that sign says for cars.

I know I sound like a over cautious grandma but guess what? In 15 years I have never hit anyone or even came close to hitting anyone.

Most truck ,at least at the major trucking companies that most of you will be working at, have OEBR's and ELOGS and other nifty computers that tell the company how you are driving the truck. If you brake to hard it sends an alert and almost always its set to send the alert whenever you brake and you loose 9mph within 1 second. Its called Hard Braking and companies frown on it. Get enough of these alerts and you start to show a history of bad driving habits. Sure I know that stuff will happen where you might need to stop real fast cause another car or truck jumped in front of you and you had to slam on the brakes but it does not happen all the time.

If you find yourself having to Brake Hard a lot then you need to look at how you are driving and what bad habits you have developed that is causing this to happen a lot.

I hardly use my brakes ever. I use my Jake Brake a lot. Even in town. YOu can hardly hear it so I won't get a ticket for using it in town. If I can avoid stopping at traffic lights I do so. I start gearing down well before the light and if I have played it right by the time I get to the light its turned green and I can go through without stopping.

Basically its common sense while driving out here on the road. Being overly cautious never killed anyone and so what if you are a little slower than every one out on the road.

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Elogs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

Good Post, Guyjax...informational, as usual. But I need to put a caution in about Jake Brakes/engine brake/exhaust brake..whatever you want to call them. some are solid set, and others, like ours is "staged"..we can flip a button from 1-3 for how hard we want the jake brake to work. But almost all resident areas now have signs that say "no engine brake/jake brake/exhaust brake use. Its because some of them, like ours really scream, and it wakes people up, makes the dogs bark, rattles the windows, etc. But even if you have a quiet jake, they can, and will ticket you for using it in an area that is restricted. So use at your own peril...we don't, but its cuz we know ours is loud. And speaking of jake brakes, whats with this driving thru the truck stop, shifting gears with your jake on...I'll admit, it sounds kinda cool...but dang it, driver...there's people tryin' to sleep !!!!

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.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

I reverse the use of my Jake brake and service brake(pedal brake). I use my Jake brake as my main brake cause if the Jake can slow me down then that means I was not going to fast and I use the air brakes as a backup to my Jake brake. Those that have been on the road know what I mean.

Another thing I would like to add about Jake brakes in the mountains...if you are going down a long grade and you only have to use your pedal brake only once in a one mile stretch then you are in the correct gear. Jake brakes are there for a reason so learn to use them. They are meant to keep your speed down to a controllable speed and to keep your brakes from burning up. Let the Jake do the job it was made for.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I totally agree, Guyjax...The Jake is a great comfort to me in mountain country..I'd heard at one time that JB Hunt didn't have jakes in their trucks....was that a truckers tale ??? I can't imagine not having a jake, cuz tryin to ride your brakes down a long hill will cause a serious seat pucker...And thats if you even HAVE enough brake to get to the bottom. I had my jake go out as I started down Prosser Hill.....it got really interesting...I was way overloaded ( hauling grapes to the winery) and I couldn't even get the old truck to slow down so I could catch a different gear. After I sponged my tractor brakes, I decided I'd use the Johnson bar, and flame my trailer brakes, before I ended up over the cliff. When I got to the bottom, where the run away ramp was...such as it is...I was smokin' like a forest fire, but I got it slowed down, did a california stop at the sign, and did the okie creep into the winery...grabbed a hose and steamed the brakes....They had to replace the brakes and the hubs on the trailer, since it was a lease trailer...but fix the jake brake??? HECK NO....I quit the next day.I'm very serious when I say I won't drive a truck with a safety issue. They can get some other steering wheel holder to risk everything for the honor.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Yes we have jake brake on JB HUnt trucks.embarrassed.gif

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