Sorry, for some weird reason my reply ended up in your comment! Sometimes I hate technology...
Winter driving and chaining
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Could a new driver in today's industry get a job in your company right out of school? 18 years ago, and I mean no offense by this, but standards were different. Laws were different. Insurance was different. Getting a rookie to navigate the Rockies in a freak snow storm to deliver medical supplies is almost a little irresponsible on the company's part.
But yes, everyone needs to get their feet wet. Just not jump head first in the deep end with no training or experience.
Our transportation department where I work now is only 3 years old.
And yes, we would hire well qualified newbies, and continue to develop them, but no, we wouldn't send them over the pass their first year out. We run mostly the I-5 corridor in Washington and the Portland, OR area. If it should be snowing in the lowlands, however, we will coach them through the entire process as much as they need.
Until they've had a little time in, we'll save the passes for our experienced drivers.
We have a solid safety record with no incidents so far, and this year we're on track to break a million miles. Not bad for a total of 14 local drivers.
The only way to learn, is to do.
First practice chaining in your driveway or where you park truck away from traffic.
Easier to do it road side in the winter when you've done it before.
I carry my winter coveralls and boots for just such occasion. A good rain suit will do in a pinch.
I have only chained twice. Lucky I guess. I watch the weather forecast and take loads the other way.
Most states have signs telling you when to chain. Still check on websites, sometimes the boards don't receive transmission change message. Washington state comes to mind.
When you slow down stay right. Let the experienced (crazy) drivers get around.
All good advice on here. I would add that practicing a few times when 'off duty' will help a lot. That's also a good time to check out your chain situation (are the chains up to par?; broke?; too loose,too tight?). I assume you're not slip seating, of course.
Another thing, if in a storm and I want to pull off into a rest area or truck stop I attempt to scope out the situation ahead and see what, if any, storm related situations are going on. I have seen trucks/ trailers that have slid off of the side of the road blocking any entrance; or exit; might want to think twice about going in there
Just a tip from an old hand. If you decide to pull over and stop for awhile on the snowpack. Don't set your trailer brakes just tractor. Also roll back and forth in your parking area. Say 2 truck lengths. Cools the tires off and makes a path for your get away. When doubt throw iron. Have fun.
i DO make an effort to drive, so as to not be a Nancy pants, but my effort is always short lived and i call to say, "i cannot go on".....so at the very least, most companies want you to "make an effort", then just call to say you are not feeling safe.
when i start out, if the snows are falling, i at least try to make it to my first stop, then second, then third, but the further north i go (to my 3rd/last stop) if it's terrible, i call my boss and tell him. he always tells me to turn around, there is always tomorrow with our loads, as it is the same customer.
someone just said, "no load is worth it", and this is true, then too, you will be ###### if you do, ###### if you don't.
but if a driver is to call "out sick" at the very first snowflake, then driving is not for that person, period.
an effort should at least be tried, then a call to say it is not safe....be forewarned however, some other driver from your company can be doing the same areas as you, or just traveled the same roads, and will most certainly say that..."there is no problem"....
now what do you do..?????
make an effort, if only a few yards, call, then sit out the storms.
it's what got me to my 30+ years, so something is working right.
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