Just Realized...

Topic 4012 | Page 1

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Gary A.'s Comment
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IF everything goes according to schedule, and from some of the posts/blogs/diaries I've been reading, by the time I'm on my own rig, after all training is done, it will be early to mid November. RIGHT BEFORE WINTER!!! A rookie with a couple months behind the wheel going into winter driving...sheesh..Best to get it over with eh??? I'll be the most TERRIFIED, MOST WHITE-KNUCKLED driver not to mention THE SLOWEST rig on the road for sure.. Seriously, I HOPE I'll have a good feel for my rig by then, and will know the ins and outs. I drove a van all over the midwest on icy roads before, found out that waiting for and following snow plows is a MARVELOUS thing, not to mention driving VERY slowly and carefully....I suppose the good thing is that if I survive the winter, I'll be feeling pretty confident. Have any of y'all started your careers this same way??

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

At least by then you'll know what you're doing.

I got on my trainers truck Dec 14th and after only a month I went solo Jan 14th. Started when winter arrived and went solo on a very chilly January.

I survived luckily. Heres some advice.

Don't let your appointment times dictate your speed. If you're on a tight schedule don't drive 62mph because "you have too in order to make it on time". Safety first. You'll get there when you get there.

No load is worth your life and a hot load will get cold real fast in the ditch. Don't be afraid to shut down!

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
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Speed is the key to safety. Winter driving has all the challenges of summer driving plus the snow and ice. Keep it slow. As Daniel said. Appointments do matter still but not at the point where you sacrifice your safety. For winter driving the best advice I can give you and any other person is never communicate on the phone if there is bad weather. Always use your qualcomm even if it is slower for 2 reasons. 1) every message leaves a paper trail as to what's said and you will be less likely to encounter problems from your company and 2) reference number 1 again. ;D

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.
HAMMERTIME's Comment
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If you feel uncomfortable with the conditions don't be ashamed to call in and say so, shut that truck down. In due time you will learn how to drive in the Winter.

I was in the same situation when I first started trucking back in 2011 and I first went solo in December. My very first load went down 395 from Reno threw Mammoth, Bishop and into LA. I was extremely ****ed that they would dispatch me on such a crazy route my first day solo and guess what I had to throw on Chains too because it was snow like you couldn't believe it. Just take things slow and if it's unsafe pull over.

Gary A.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks guys, you've taken a HUGE concern off my mind. I will refuse to do anything I consider unsafe. Even if it costs me my job.

I'm no wimp, Like I said, I drove all over the midwest between December through March, recovered from several skids, etc and have a reasonable idea of how to handle icy roads, just not in 40 tons of truck!!! I know a rig's weight makes them easier to handle than other vehicles, as long as they're loaded heavy, and I have YOU guys to lean on, when I get scared stupid!!!!!

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
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Thanks guys, you've taken a HUGE concern off my mind. I will refuse to do anything I consider unsafe. Even if it costs me my job.

I'm no wimp, Like I said, I drove all over the midwest between December through March, recovered from several skids, etc and have a reasonable idea of how to handle icy roads, just not in 40 tons of truck!!! I know a rig's weight makes them easier to handle than other vehicles, as long as they're loaded heavy, and I have YOU guys to lean on, when I get scared stupid!!!!!

That's not true. It's because of a trucks weight that they are harder to drive during icy or snowy conditions. Sure on flat ground it's easier but going up a hill or down its down right dangerous alot of times. This is why trucks with inexperienced drivers often times end up sliding off the road.

Basically if driven correctly four wheelers are far easier to drive in winter weather than a big truck. Sure a bobtail could recover pretty easy but it's the trailers that that are the issue. Once the drive tires or steer tires loose traction the trailer still goes in the direction it was traveling and in many cases will pass the truck and cause a jack knife by pushing the drives forward and the front of the truck comes around.

Basically stay off youtube. Stop over thinking it. It's not to bad. Be careful is the main thing. You can't think about the "What if's". You will scare the hell out of yourself.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Cars are a whole universe easier to drive than a truck on icy roads.

Sure we have the weight, but once a tire loses control you're pretty much done for. They're hardly any time for a recovery because of the jack knife and the fall into the ditch is much worse. Trucks are easier to flip over so there's the added risk as well. If a car goes into the ditch it simply travels a bit and the snow stops it.

Plus traction control, ABS, some cars can drive on snow and ice as well as they can on pavement. The problem is the drivers of cars usually have no idea what they're doing and this will lead to an accident.

Cars are definitely not harder to drive in adverse conditions. They're much easier. I'd rather worry about 6 feet of vehicle rather than 73 feet of combination vehicle.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

Gary A.'s Comment
member avatar

Hmmm.That's what i get for watching YOU TUBE! That's where I heard that driving big rigs on ice was like driving a tank..thanks guys! I guess I'm overthinking all this stuff, I'm a smart guy and feel confident that I can trust my instincts. I REALLY want this career, and just have to go with my training and lessons I learn from y'all and stop reading so much into it...Thanks!!!!

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Hmmm.That's what i get for watching YOU TUBE! That's where I heard that driving big rigs on ice was like driving a tank..thanks guys! I guess I'm overthinking all this stuff, I'm a smart guy and feel confident that I can trust my instincts. I REALLY want this career, and just have to go with my training and lessons I learn from y'all and stop reading so much into it...Thanks!!!!

YouTube is great. Very valuable if you have time to wade through the nonsense that is on there. 100 hours of video is uploaded to youtube every minute. There is 86,400 second in a day. That's 8,640,000 hours worth of video in one 24 hour period. How could you not watch YouTube? It is very entertaining. I myself watch 25 to 30 gigs a month on my cell phone when I have downtime but do yourself a favor and stay away from the video that show the bad part of winter driving.

Adverse weather conditions effect different people different ways. Take me for example. As long as the road is open I will run though if it gets to bad i will shutdown and including throwing chains if need be but I have the experience in dealing with some really rotten weather over the years. I am comfortable with my driving skills to proceed safely. The only weather pattern that scares me is the wind. I simple do not play with straight line winds. I know the devastating effects it can produce. I tend to get a bit nerous when my truck is in the right lane and i am riding the white line with my tractor and the trailer tandems are on the middle dotted line. Now there are other drivers that don't mind the wind but hate winter.

What I am trying to say in so many words is that over time as your driving skills strengthen you will find your own way through the weather we have out here and like me it might be total different than someone else. The key is to proceed slow till you see what you are getting yourself into and the make a judgement call once you know the facts.

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".

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Freightdog (Shaun)'s Comment
member avatar

I was in a similar situation this past winter, Gary. I went solo in November, right as the proverbial "stuff" starting hitting the fan winter weather-wise. For the most part, I just took my time, slowed down, increased my following distance, and just generally kept in mind the phrase "easy does it".

The one time that I didn't follow my "gut" feeling with respect to the weather and shutdown resulted in me getting stuck on a hill with multiple other trucks and four wheelers on I-79 in southern PA heading to W. Va. I had stopped earlier at a rest area on I-70 to change out my wiper blade and thought to myself "gee it's snowing pretty hard, maybe I should just shut it down for today. On the other hand, the snow isn't really sticking to the road yet, so maybe I'll just get in another 50-60 miles today and then call it a day." I figured that way I'd be in a much better position to pickup my load the next morning. Big mistake. As I made the turn southbound on I-79, it became a veritable winter wonderland with several inches of snow on top of a healthy underlying layer of ice. I plodded along, my hands cramping due to a lockdown grip on the steering wheel. Simultaneously, the seat cushion was quickly becoming an unwelcome entrant into certain nether regions of my body. As I started climbing one particularly onerous hill, both lanes of the interstate came to a complete standstill. The road had not been plowed, and as a result everyone was getting stuck--trucks and four wheelers alike. I soon joined this club of unfortunates. I tried to get going to no avail. I was in the granny lane and a flatbed was right beside me in the hammer lane and both of us were completely stuck, unable to get any traction to produce any forward momentum. I tried locking the differential, attempted to start out in a higher gear, and even went to first gear in a final desperate attempt to move. Nothing worked, and as the truck started a jackknife to the right (thereby kicking the left front corner of my trailer precipitously close to the flatbed next to me) I finally had to admit defeat and stop trying. After at least an hour in this predicament, the flatbed was able to get a couple hundred feet up the road where it got stuck once again. With him out of the way, I decided to gingerly try to move once again. Since the truck had been idling in that same spot for an hour plus, enough snow and ice had melted off underneath allowing my drives to get some traction and blessed momentum. Home free, I nursed it a few more miles down the road until I saw the beautiful sight of sodium vapor lights arising from the snowy darkness at an exit ahead and drove toward the sight. Never had a shopping center (with its great big mostly empty parking lot) look so good. That parking lot was my oasis in the snowy wilderness and became my temporary home, along with 5 other truckers that had decided they'd had enough playing in the snow for one night.

The moral of this story is I was a dummy that day and didn't shut down when I should have. So when you get out there this winter, remember my plight and don't be a dummy like I was. If your gut is telling you that it's time to get out of a situation, don't let your ego interfere. Stay safe and keep the shiny side up and most importantly--have fun! Despite the challenges, being on the road is a wonderful and unique way of life, so make the most of it and enjoy!

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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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