Weather decision

Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by lobshot, Feb 16, 2015.

  1. gpsman

    gpsman Road Train Member

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    Motor vehicles apparently make people stupid. They seem to inspire a definite tendency to test limits, and it's virtually always on the high side of those limits, conditions be dammed.

    On one hand, a driver wants to do a "good job", and wants to be paid for the investment of their time. On the other is public safety.

    How does one measure the degree of "safety" in marginal conditions? Usually by their feelings of their ability to handle the rig, and without consideration of the multitudes who will also be out there also trying to do a "good job" by arriving for work on-time... after leaving the house at the ~exact same time as in July.

    Sometimes you have to determine it ain't you, it's "the environment", and that doesn't include only weather.

    If trucking companies are going to call the shots, they ought to call them by "grounding" trucks according to conditions, but they instead instead leave the GO/NO GO decision to drivers, and that includes drivers leaving to pick up their first-ever load in the worst weather for 100 years.

    The thing is, if conditions seem to require it, you can hang chains and go dang near anywhere... eventually. But, driving in marginal conditions is exhausting, your brain is going to abandon you in no more than 4 hours, tops, so you're going to make ~100 miles.

    So it's a tough decision, and only you can make the call, despite any lack of qualifying experience.

    To try to answer answer your questions, I have to imagine most carriers (not necessarily dispatch) are going to respect your decision, and if they don't, the most important thing is you know it was the right thing to do. Err on the side of caution, for a change, no sense in anyone getting hurt for a load... and 99% of all loads involved in a crash are late, or never arrive.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
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  3. Stuka

    Stuka Light Load Member

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    Man! They don't pay me enough to deal with that. Parked is safe. When the roads are clear, I'll continue.





    Yeah, well, that still doesn't make it safe. I work for a company that told me to drive when it is safe. Nothing overrides that.
     
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  4. TripleSix

    TripleSix God of Roads

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    So you're a rookie driver behind the wheel. Weather is going to hell. Do you keep going or do you stop? Well, first of all, did you do your homework? Which way is the storm going? If the storm is coming at you? Or is it going the same direction as you? How bad is it? How long is it supposed to last? How much snow is going to be dumped? Do your homework before making decisions.

    What difference does doing your homework make? You have a game plan that sounds a lot better than 'wait here til the roads clear'. I knew G.Anthony's post would get under people's skin, but it's an excellent post.

    Youre running the two lane in Montana. The mother of all blizzards is on your donkey. Snow is falling all around you, but according to the weather map, you should be driving out of it in 20 miles. Do you keep going or do you park?

    Had ad an incident a few years back where I was coming out of Minnesota, stepping south on 35. Weathers going to hell, but there's no pulls. I kept going. Northbound told me about a big wreck in Iowa, and the road was shut 50 miles south of the Iowa border. Heck, I stopped at that Peelot. Went to bed. Got up at night, and hammered through the night. There was snow on the road, but it was no longer snowing and the plows were working. South of Des Moines, the roads were clear. Boogity Boogity.

    Had a load where I was coming out of GraniteFalls,MN heading to Corpus Christi with an oversize. Got stopped at the wb scale on 90 near Sioux Falls. ScaleMaster shut me down because snow was blowing over the road. Sun was out, but he made me wait until the wind quit. 2 hours later, I'm back out on the big road, stepping south on 29. Weather goes to hell. Snow storm was stretching from Monterrey to Canada. Holy moly...won't be able to escape this one. This ones going to be bad. I make it Council Bluffs to the Sapp Bros, park and lock her down. Next morning, I go into the restaurant to watch the weather channel with everyone else.

    If you can escape, by all means, escape. But if there's some big monster storm that's going to take a big swipe at the country, run up to it, and hunker down and let it pass over you. G.Anthony's post is intelligent. The more intelligence that you as a driver shows, the less problems you as a driver will have with dispatch. There is no ALWAYS and NEVER.

    When I was at that Sapp Bros watching the weather channel, a driver came in and sat at the counter. Waitress asked him what would he have and he said that he has to see what he could afford since he's been sitting there for two days. "Two days?" Well, I got to Granite Falls on a Sunday. Weather was fine. I loaded Monday, but a snow storm was blowing. Tuesday morning weather was fine, but another storm was coming. I left out Tuesday morning and ran into the next storm at council bluffs Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday morning, this driver is telling everyone that he's been sitting there for two days. Why did he sit there? There was a break in the weather big enough for me to get an OSOW from Granite Falls,MN to Council Bluffs,IA. he should have been able to move.

    And then you cry to the waitress about money...

    So, don't just park. Watch the weather, look at your maps, find safe havens along your routes. If you have to stop, by all means stop, BUT BE PREPARED TO MOVE AT A MOMENTS NOTICE!!!!! This is especially true to you drivers that have the no chainining policies at your company. As soon as chain law lifts, you have to go! Don't be doing laundry or getting a PM done.
     
  5. 201

    201 Road Train Member

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    Once I had a delivery in Bloomington, Ill. It was just starting to snow heavily and was in the store about a half hour. When I came out there was a couple inches on the hood and really coming down. Next stop was Joliet, so I figured if I could make it to the big road, I was ok. No way, could hardly see where the road was. Only way I could tell was the reflectors on the side of the road. When it did let up a little, I could see the trucks coming south didn't have any snow on them. Again, CB radio, a driver came back and said, you'll run out of it 10 miles down the road. I told him, I didn't have as good a news for him, but sure enough, cleared right up, and hammer down. When I got to Joliet, the trailer door( rollup) was totally snowed over. The guys at the store ( sun shining)said where the heck were you. I said never mind.
     
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  6. G.Anthony

    G.Anthony Road Train Member

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    As a new driver, they know you are scared, they do not want you to drive all scared and such. But I can most certainly guarantee you of this: As your time there increases, they WILL EXPECT YOU to drive. The day comes and you quit and go someplace else? Do you realistically think they will have the same bad weather policies?

    You are entitled to do as you see fit. You have very little experience. We experienced drivers know our limitations as well.

    But if you continue to stay put and not move, start seeking new employment in another line of work. Truckers are paid to drive and be safe at it. If you wish to sit out each and every time a flake is in the air, you're not making your company make any money. How much longer before they replace you with someone that actually makes the attempt to go, over your continued "sit and wait it out attitude?

    I'll pity you not, should you get your own truck someday, and sit and wait out some minor snow events. That truck payment is due each month, whether you earn any money, or sit. Plan on being an o/o someday?

    Then you had better learn real quick, to drive in some bad weather.
     
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  7. G.Anthony

    G.Anthony Road Train Member

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    First, thank you for the compliments. Second, I know that bad weather can hinder newbies. But I also believe that in this day and age of "entitlement" the new breed of drivers, want a paycheck for nothing. That is true of any industry however, "pay for nothing". If factory workers got paid for sitting down to lunch past thier 30 minutes, the assembly line would be shut down, until those workers thought it was time to go back to work. This would create un-necessary shortages.

    We all know that nearly all dispatchers label nearly every load as HOT, when in fact, those of us with even a minimum of 5 years behind the wheel, know that HOT means nothing.

    When someone is too scared to drive, I can understand. But I cannot understand, some long past statements from so many, such as: I love to drive, I can drive all day long, I don't have to be home, I always wanted to be a truck driver, and so on and so forth. Then we have the "Mary's" of the trucking world, or the "fair weather drivers". Trucking is a profession, a t least this is what the outside world claims it is and what we should be.

    But yet, so many cower down to some of the things, we as professionals are supposed to be able to handle. I never said that anyone should drive and be in a wreck, or get stuck. I merely said to at least "make the attempt" to go a few miles, THEN call it in as un-safe driving conditions.

    We will always have the "Mary drivers" and fair weather drivers", that's the way it is. Too many or so many are "brave to say" they always wanted to be a driver, yet, fail to realize the entire scope of the job and it's responsibilities.



    Of course, there are so many "Romeo's" out there, that think they are impressing the waitress. Only problem here is these "dime store Romeo's" don't know that those gals have heard every sob story out there. Being prepared to move out on a moments notice is what one should be ready to do, but again too many waste time watching movies, playing video games then get some sleep. Get some sleep first, to be able to get up and go. Wasted time at a truck stop is time one will never get back.
     
  8. TLeaHeart

    TLeaHeart Road Train Member

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    Triple six says it well, move when you can, shut it down when it is not safe...

    Watch the weather, move between storms, ahead of one, behind the other.

    And remeber just because the weather men say a huge storm is going to hit an area over the next 3 days, they may be wrong... just like the shutting down of the NYC area this year, and then the storm went farther north.

    And driving in bad weather will tax your brain, don't push, stop give your brain a rest, along with your tense muscles.

    Word of advice, about wyoming, the wind is your enemy. When it is snowing without wind, keep moving. The wind is coming, which will glaze the road, make salt/sand mix useless, and then a side wind on a patch of ice, and you are sliding into the ditch before you can react.

    And I will say NEVER be part of the first wave of trucks to go when the road first opens... it will be a pack looking for a place to wreck. Stay out of the packs.
     
  9. TLeaHeart

    TLeaHeart Road Train Member

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    I can show you many pictures of drivers, both rookie and seasoned, who attempted to go just a few miles, and put it in the ditch, or worse killed someone. Never choose to drive beyond your comfort zone and ability. Things beyond your control will give you enough opportunity to experience those situations.

    But do not refuse to drive just because there may be a storm, just keep an open mind, and pay attention to what is actually happening. Around the great lakes, expect thick heavy bands of snow, that only last a few miles, but kill people every year, because they do not slow down.

    In wyoming expect wind, which does not mix well with ice. And that wind expands into eastern Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas with the larger storms.

    And yes, get rest when you can, first priority, but rest can be playing video games for a period of time, to give your brain a change of pace. Be ready to roll between storms, but not at a moments notice. It is life and death out there, so take a few moments, prepare yourself, let that first wave of trucks go, who must roll in a moments notice, and enjoy the ride behind the pack, and wave as you pass the ones who ended up in the ditch.
     
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  10. 27butterfly

    27butterfly Medium Load Member

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    I agree with you, we started to slide in Indianapolis about a month in a half ago so my co driver slowed down easy and put flashers on until we got to exit. I think she was lucky and should have stopped sooner because she was saying she had already Senn two trucks in ditch, and it did not look bad at all but we soon found out. We pulled over and waited for the sun to come out and temperatures rise enough to melt before we left which took about six hours. I am still new and doubt my decisions sometimes but every time I have found them to be right like the time I refused load to Michigan and they had that pile up and Indianapolis, if you see any other cars sliding or you and other drivers getting off the I say it's time to park.
     
  11. 27butterfly

    27butterfly Medium Load Member

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    And, can I add that if you are South I would definitely park sooner than in the North. I am from Texas and have to say some are idiots when it comes to driving in winter weather. I had to get to work one day before I started driving I worked in a clinic as a Medical Assistant but I was going about 15 and people were passing me, I would later see a lot of them in ditch down the road or like one tried to make a right turn and slid into oncoming traffic.
     
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