Mountain Snow Driving

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by runitaro, Aug 8, 2022.

  1. D.Tibbitt

    D.Tibbitt Road Train Member

    Apr 26, 2013
    Gettin' down westbound
    Most important thing is never stop reading the road. It changes as you drive. Ice is going to look shiny. If its wet snow , back it down, theres most likely ice underneath snow pack. The colder the better. As the snow dries out, you gain traction. The worst stuff to drive in is between 20-30 degrees... Snow can be driven in, you can chain up multiple times a day... Dont listen to those guys that say you shouldnt be driving if it is snowing or need chains. The guys that work the PNW. Would only have work for 3 months of the year... Ive chained up next to dump trucks, cement mixers, garbage trucks etc. Its a way of life for some people and its possible. Patience is key. Never stop paying attention.
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  3. Professor No-Name

    Professor No-Name Road Train Member

    Nov 26, 2016
    Slow an steady wins the race. Plenty of people will tell you not to use the jakes. I don't use em on flat ground. But i am not going down long steep grades without em. At the end of the day ya have to be your own judge. Do not start down a slick grade with the jake fully off an then flip it on expecting that it won't put ya in a slide. Start slow an stay in a lower gear an use the jake accordingly. I have a 3 stage an usually run it on 1 or 2 depending on my weight. A live example i can think of would be coming off Eisenhower on 70 east towards denver. In bad weather i won't let her over 35 mph to 40 mph. Been down it grossing 79 to 80k. Stay in a low enough gear that with the jake on 2 it'll hold ya down to 40 or less with minimal braking. Just my experience but again you have to drive according to your comfort level an to heck with anyone trying to brow beat ya into running faster. If they wanna be a hero let em jump in the left lane an by god have at it. You'll get down the grade plenty a times going too slow. You may only go down it too fast one time.
  4. okiedokie

    okiedokie Road Train Member

    Jun 13, 2011
    Running an 8 axle combo during the Winter over the Cascades daily becomes tiresome. 3 railers,drag chains(lots of drag chains) and the rest of the circus. In my experience splitting the track (Cattleman84) going up or down. Traffic runs the gravel off to the side/center(drip line). There're a few other tricks but that's for off road. That's when the fun starts.
  5. kranky1

    kranky1 Road Train Member

    Sep 16, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Two of mine were built as mountain goats. They’ve got BrakeSavers and PacBrakes on them. The BrakeSaver is the answer in poor traction. You can keep a lot more effort on them without the fear of them locking you up. If they slide the drives all the load comes off the brake and the wheels start turning again. You can use them to maintain traction climbing too. If it starts wiping it’s feet in a bad place to try to shift it, pull the retarder on until it stops spinning. It’ll warm the oil up pretty good but you’ll get off the hill. I’ve certainly got my moneys worth out of them, all of them. I’ve had a few. My 1693, both 3408’s, and four 3406’s all had BrakeSavers. I still have 2 of the 3406’s.
  6. Big Road Skateboard

    Big Road Skateboard Road Train Member

    May 2, 2021
    I only ever saw one truck with one. The Freightliner dealer i started out serviced the local CAT dealers heavy haul trucks.

    They had one behind a 3406E. I was just a kid back then.

    Pretty neat, but i never got to see one in action
    LtlAnonymous Thanks this.
  7. lester

    lester Road Train Member

    Jan 2, 2012
    NW, Iowa
    Personally i think that's a horrible idea to drive in crappy conditions fully locked. If you lose traction things are gonna go sideways really fricking fast.
    I rarely even run with the power divider locked in snow or ice, unless there's a big hill coming in nervous about making. And honestly I never feel much improvement in traction with it engaged
    Blue jeans, seagreg, Hammer166 and 2 others Thank this.
  8. scott180

    scott180 Road Train Member

    Dec 10, 2012
    Tooele, UT
    I was doing about 35 in a real nasty storm in UT between Saint George and SLC. I started on that stretch before they shut it down and had plows come through. Anyways it was bad. So for me 35 or so felt right, fast enough to keep going but not fast enough to mess up. I'm no expert in the snow.
    A flat bed comes flying past me and pert near took off my hood moving over into my lane. I started wondering if I was going too slow and I might be a hazard. Within fifteen minutes of him passing I pass him as he sits in the middle of the road going nowhere. After that every time I got a bee in my bonnet about going too slow and needing to make time before my clock ran out I'd come across another poor driver that didn't make it.
    Lesson learned was go as fast as you feel is safe and no more. Not exactly about hills but I do hope this helps. As for hills in the ice and bad snow, if open and plowed with no chains required I'll go. Otherwise I'll sit. The short term loss in a pay check is nothing compared to the long term loss of revenue due to having a wreck attached to your license.
  9. LtlAnonymous

    LtlAnonymous Road Train Member

    Dec 23, 2016
    You got some great advice from people who mentioned torque and the rumble strips. I'll cosign those.

    Don't feel pressure from other drivers. My loads are LIGHT. Feel free to go the #### around me. I've made this job into a career and would like to be out here next year.

    Stay off the defroster. Windshield fogs up, open your window. Snow becomes water becomes ice, and it never stops. I've heard about windshield washer fluid additives, but I've never had anything but problems with any type of liquid on my windshield.

    Managing torque IS possible in an automatic, you just have to be very careful with the fuel pedal. Steady. No cruise control. No engine brake. I've heard of drivers using both, but I'm not them, and I don't leave anything to chance.

    Okay, I've been helpful. I've earned a sarcastic response.

    I don't know WHAT I do. I've spent the last 19 years peeking between my fingers like a little girl watching a horror movie. Shrieking and jerking the wheel seems to help.

    Be safe out there. ;)
  10. Cattleman84

    Cattleman84 Road Train Member

    Nov 1, 2017
    The Sticks, Idaho
    I cant really think of how to explain driving in bad snow and ice... It's very much a feel thing.

    One thing I will say, and many will say I'm crazy... But if I need to run in really crappy winter conditions I prefer to do it at night. At night there is much less chance of water ontop of ice... Hot tires stick to very cold, solid, ice... But they hydroplane or skate very easily on wet ice. There are also WAY less idiots out in a storm at night.

    Just remember... On ice and snow its not about how fast you can go, its about how fast you can STOP.
  11. Northern Nomad

    Northern Nomad Light Load Member

    Apr 1, 2020
    The frozen north
    My dad (who taught me how to drive, was a logger and farmer,) told me once that you drive truck and operate machinery by the seat of your pants.
    Meaning just that—it’s mostly by feel.[/QUOTE]
    Cattleman84 and D.Tibbitt Thank this.
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