Driving Truck In Bad Weather ? Snow, Rain, Ice

Topic 9136 | Page 1

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Jeff M.'s Comment
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I have lived in Denver for over 35 yrs and I will be going to a truck company CDL training school in about 5 wks. I am a very cautious driver and have lots of experience driving passenger vehicles in snowy weather in challenging conditions including mountain roads but obviously no such experience with big rigs. I have seen countless accidents/jack knifed/rolled over trucks that attempted to drive on roads, especially mountain roads (I-70, I-25) that they never should have even tried to drive on. Any and all input/advice would be greatly appreciated so that we can all try to prevent accidents/injuries/deaths for truckers and all those on the road would. I won't be able to get training with a trainer on snow/ice roads since my training will be coming soon. Any advice in this regard? Also, I have a very good friend who plans on going into trucking in about 15 months. He has a great work history, terrible credit history (divorce, etc and will take him years to change his credit history). Are there truck companies and trucking company schools that will not consider him due to his credit history? Finally, I have known this friend for 20 yrs and we have much in common (strong work ethic, non-smokers, healthy). IF in the future we decide to try team driving with each other, any advice? We don't want to risk our friendship by trying this. Of course, one or both of us may decide that trucking and/or team driving isn't for us.... This is a great web site and forum. I will be following all the advice from Brent. Thanks and be safe everyone !!!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Here's my answer for your first question. This is a situation I call "Sleigh Ride*

Wet or dry road, you need to deal with the moving energy of the truck. That’s what brakes and steering handle. On rain, snow and ice, you have much less control since the truck’s tires can break with the ground, and the truck will go its own way (skid & slide).

As you drive, just imagine the truck will start a skid right from where you are. This makes you want to drive slow, which is the safest thing. In below freezing conditions you might see white patches of snow ice, but you may not see the slick shiny black ice - it’s almost invisible. As you roll (not skid) along, keep an eye out for any “emergency exits” from where you are, in case you start to slide, or another vehicle begin to skid into your path.

At the top of a hill, use your imagination again. Think of possibly starting to slide down the road. Imagine how fast you might need to go to keep from sliding. Now proceed at about half that speed. As your truck accelerates (gravity don’t stop in a snowstorm!) to that imagined upper speed limit, easily press the breaks so you don’t break what grip you have with the ground to slow back to that really slow speed. It may be 10 mph at the moment, but at 10 mph, if you end up hitting anything the damage will be way less than 25 mph.

No one will fault you if in your opinion the road is not safe at all and you decide to pull over.

*I make titles to describe the situation - quick memory aid.

Jeff M.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the great advice Errol V. You seem to give excellent input on many issues.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the great advice Errol V. You seem to give excellent input on many issues.

Others have different ideas. That's the benefit of the forum style: you get all kinds of ideas and opinions. You can pick and choose what works for you.

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
I have known this friend for 20 yrs and we have much in common (strong work ethic, non-smokers, healthy). IF in the future we decide to try team driving with each other, any advice? We don't want to risk our friendship by trying this. Of course, one or both of us may decide that trucking and/or team driving isn't for us....

I had a made good friend while in tech school in the Air Force. We were posted to Okinawa together and decided to become room mates. After about 3 months we hated each other. I moved out. About 3 months later we were (and still are) good friends. Just a word of experience. Then again, you and your friend might make a better arrangement, and just knock out those 7000 mile weeks month after month.

Make agreements and understandings when you start out, even if they seem silly. ("We're friends, dang it! Why do we have to make these agreements now?") Because if the friendship turns bad, you'll never agree on anything.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Thanks Errol. Does anyone know if the computer simulators used by some schools include driving in poor conditions?

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Errol. Does anyone know if the computer simulators used by some schools include driving in poor conditions?

I'm not sure if they try to work on poor road conditions or not but I don't think it would do any good if they did. I've used simulators for probably a few thousand hours over the years flying airplanes and they're absolutely amazing at teaching so many things. But one thing you can't get from a simulator is a true feel for the vehicle. Without that it would be impossible to know for instance if the truck is sliding on slick roads and what effect your steering and pedal inputs are having on the vehicle. Without feeling it you're not going to know what needs to be done and whether your actions are helping or not.

Simulators for trucking are best for teaching good driving habits. For instance, as you drive they might ask you to read every sign you pass or explain what your plan would be if a wreck were to suddenly happen in front of you. They might put you in a city to help you learn how to navigate complex traffic areas. Things like that.

Simulators are great for teaching situational awareness but they're not good for teaching anything that requires a feel of the vehicle. So I wouldn't expect them to teach much in the way of emergency situations like loss of control on ice or a trailer jackknife. Those type of emergency maneuvers are best taught on a real life skid pad.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Brett has a great point. A simulator is like a video game. You get no feedback through the wheel, brakes or anything. In a real truck, you get a lot of seat-of-the-pants information, even on a nice sunny day on a dry highway. If you do pay attention, you can tell through your seat whether your truck is sliding. That won't happen in a simulator, where even the diesel sound is fake.

Rainy 's Comment
member avatar

Great info guys...thanks. as for the sims...they do give u snow Ice fog and hills...but again as stated it is totally different from reality. They ate good to teach u the shifting postions...but not even when to shift as I found each truck to be different. Clutches feel different.... the width of the gears are different. I thought I was in 2nd in one but it w as 4th....cause it wà THST different from the truck before it

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