How Do You Feel About The Ways Chain Restrictions Are Communicated To Drivers?

Topic 32159 | Page 1

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Alex K.'s Comment
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Hey, everyone!

I know it's summertime in the northern hemisphere at the moment, but I live in Reno, Nevada - where we see some pretty snowy winters and treacherous driving conditions. We also have a near-by mountain pass that sees a LOT of chain controls during the winter called, Donner Pass. Donner Pass has TONS of truckers bridging that gap between California and Nevada, and I know this can be pretty rough in the winter.

Even outside of my corner of the world, I've heard that chain controls are often times not well-communicated to drivers. (e.g. The signage isn't always clear, chain notifications don't make it drivers' ways until it's too late, etc.)

What experience do you all have on this front? Do you agree that communicating up-to-date chain controls to drivers is a problem?

[Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I work for a weather/travel technology company. We're looking to make life on the road safer for commercial drivers, so here I am looking to learn and connect with the community! :-) ]

Thanks, everyone!

-Alex

PackRat's Comment
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"Chain Laws In Effect" signs that have lights on them will be seen on the shoulder of the road. If the lights are flashing then chains are required. Some states will have overhead signs with the same messages. Areas such as Donner Pass, Snoqualmie Pass, and Cabbage Hill will normally have the state police or DOT personnel checking individual vehicles for chain installation at check points.

I've never seen it not communicated anywhere I've driven, and I've chained up so far in most western states minus AZ, NV, and MT.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Alex K.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the reply, PackRat!

This may not be your experience, but I've heard this signage - while available and present eventually - sometimes doesn't give drivers the advance notice and details they'd prefer.

I know certain routes are the only available option, and sometimes crossing a path with chain laws in effect is simply part of the job, but would you (and anyone else reading) find it helpful to know the latest about what's to come in terms of chain requirements along your trips on a day-to-day basis as well as state-by-state? Of course, weather can change quickly with chain requirements changing in lockstep, but I'd imagine even a little extra notice might be helpful.

It seems like things can get a little complicated from state-to-state, too, since so many things seem to vary. For example, there are different chain ratings (e.g., California's R1, R2, R3 ratings), different distances allowed between the posted chain notifications and the point at which chains must be installed, different rules regarding "traction devices" vs normal chains, and so on...

I'm curious if all of this info is something drivers just have to live with looking up and figuring out on the fly each day. :-)

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

I rely on myself to find out the necessary data that I may utilize each day concerning weather and road conditions. Every western state has apps concerning road construction, weather, and obstacles. The final decision to drive or not rests with each driver. The only thing that would surprise me would be snow in July or August. I've seen it every other month.

Alex K.'s Comment
member avatar

Great info, PackRat. Appreciate your thoughtful replies!

Are there, perhaps, certain pieces of information that are less obvious than daily chain controls that you think knowing in advance would help to improve safety or convenience?

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Of the top of my head, I can't think of anything new that I would need to know that I cannot already determine through the internet, the CB, talking with other drivers, my cellphone, or my own driving experience.

The two biggest things we need out here:

Better trained drivers.

More legal truck parking locations within 100 miles of metropolitan areas.

Alex K.'s Comment
member avatar

Yeah, I've heard a lot about the issues surrounding viable parking locations.

I'm not sure what it's like outside of Nevada / California / into Utah, but I know there are a lot of our truck stops out west are simply closed, and drivers have to make ad-hoc parking and facilities arrangements. It sounds frustrating.

I'd guess that drivers with regular routes eventually find their own parking areas that are legal and work for them, but I'm sure that's a big challenge when it comes to new, unknown routes.

Anne A. (and sometimes To's Comment
member avatar

Of the top of my head, I can't think of anything new that I would need to know that I cannot already determine through the internet, the CB, talking with other drivers, my cellphone, or my own driving experience.

The two biggest things we need out here:

Better trained drivers.

More legal truck parking locations within 100 miles of metropolitan areas.

Yeah, I've heard a lot about the issues surrounding viable parking locations.

I'm not sure what it's like outside of Nevada / California / into Utah, but I know there are a lot of our truck stops out west are simply closed, and drivers have to make ad-hoc parking and facilities arrangements. It sounds frustrating.

I'd guess that drivers with regular routes eventually find their own parking areas that are legal and work for them, but I'm sure that's a big challenge when it comes to new, unknown routes.

Hay, Alex!

Welcome to Trucking Truth, for one.

For two, MOVE to OHIO, hahaha!!

What PackRat DIDN'T share .. is his lady friend's secret cache of all the places/states/laws, for every season; she's got built into her phone; all the 511's !! Ms. Laura, IDMtnGal ~ I can't get the pic to load!!

It's all the "511" apps for EACH state in your lanes. It's in MY photo gallery and hers, as well. SORRY, I tried. It's awesome, tho!

~ Anne & Tom ~

ps: A CB is still a necessity, to many... should be for most, if not all.

pps: If you'd put the 'Reno, NV' in your profile, you'll get a LOT more replies and/or chatter within Trucking Truth.... !

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.
Harvey C.'s Comment
member avatar

In California it seems that they sometimes have too many choices for information. Some CHP offices might post on Twitter before CalTrans updates QuikMaps, etc. I have not tried to compare it to calling 511 at the same time. I noticed some discrepancies last winter when my son was asking me if I had seen any changes when he was trying to decide between "no" and "go". He got through fine and just thrown for a surprise when they threw up chain requirements while he was going over even though there was only about an inch of snow but it was just starting to come down hard (more than forecasted) and I don't think any system is going to give a warning on that.

BK's Comment
member avatar

Chains? What are these chains of which you speak??

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