When driving down hill in bad weather, with or without chains, which breaking method do you prefer?
Stab breaking or continuous light pressure
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Plan A is to be geared down enough that my jakes can handle it without braking at all. Plan B is light continuous brake pressure, followed by a re-evaluation of why I didn't get in the right gear for plan A.
I find it safer to not drive in such weather.
If I know I will have to chain, I will find somewhere to stop before I have to chain and wait it out.
If it's not chaining weather, but just rain or something, I apply the brakes just enough to get my speed down to a safe level.
If I need to apply the brakes more than once every 30 seconds I'll brake down enough to grab the next higher gear, so the engine brake can take more of the heat.
And like Ironpony said, I should have anticipated the hill prior to going down - and already be in the correct gear to let the jakes do the work.
But Plan C is to get your speed down enough to allow a downshift.
This crap about never downshifting while going downhill is just that - crap.
Just, do it before your brakes are nearly aflame.nicholas_jordan Thanks this.
However, I have really strong opinions about continuous light pressure as a means of down hill control.
There are two reasons:
The first is that for an inexperienced driver the slow loss of braking ability due to heat build up may not be noticed until it is too late. The drums heat up, it takes a little more pressure to hold the same speed, the drums heat up even more, less braking ability and every truck following is wondering if it's their brakes. Light pressure has a way of slowly changing to heavy pressure.
The second is that when you stab or snub brake, and things go wrong, you have an immediate awareness of it. It gives you an opportunity before reaching a point of no return to adjust.
Here are my two tips about going downhill, regardless of weather:
1. go no faster than you want your accident to occur at.
2. leave enough space and time for the fool in front of you to complete his accident that you will have to drive around or thru. If Bozo wipes out because he hit a patch of black ice, do not think that hitting your brakes on the same stretch of road won't have the same effect.
It's a good time to asking those kinds of questions. In about two weeks I will be rehanging my chain hangers, counting bungee cords and inspecting my chains and chaining equipment. Real truckers know how to throw the iron on, and when not to.
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