Winter Driving

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by TigerBait, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. S M D

    S M D Road Train Member

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    Drive faster pay less attention worked out better rather than gripping the steering wheel until it bends and slowing down constently
     
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  3. Lepton1

    Lepton1 Road Train Member

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    The part I boldfaced is important. It's possible to go too slow on banked roads. At times I've had to stay gently on the throttle and steer to the OUTSIDE of the curve in order to maintain my lane instead of sliding down into the next lane, oncoming traffic, or a guard rail.

    Very true. Sometimes running a couple of hours out of your way can save you days of sitting in a blizzard. Classic example for me was two winters ago, loading at a shipper in St. Louis. Two trucks getting loaded at the same shipper, one planning on running I-44 to OKC to then head west on I-40 to LA. My brother and I look at the weather map and see a line of thunderstorms and tornado warnings on the I-44 and instead head west to KC and then southwest on US-54 to catch I-40 in New Mexico. We were a few hundred miles north of the bad weather in OKC and managed to squirt on through before a blizzard came roaring down through Kansas. We delivered on time, the other truck was a day late after shutting down when all Hades broke lose on I-44.

    If for any reason you were running without your CB on and come to stopped traffic, the correct procedure is NOT to turn on the CB and ask, "Hey!? What's the hold up????"

    Shut up and listen. You'll find out soon enough. Not to mention hear the "Hey!? What's the hold up????" about fifty times before getting through the trouble zone.

    Do NOT forget to have proper coverage of your ears and nose in very cold temperatures, especially if there is a wind. Most frost bite injuries are to the extremities, like fingers, toes, ears, and nose.

    Consider using mittens instead of gloves when it gets that cold. Mittens are warmer because they allow complete circulation in your fingers and allow heat to transfer from finger to finger.

    Steel toed boots are a bad idea in bitter cold. The steel will wick away heat from your toes in a hurry. If you need toe protection in really cold weather consider composite protection.
     
  4. Mtn. Dew

    Mtn. Dew Light Load Member

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    I've heard it is dangerous to downshift on downside of mountains. I guess when I did it, I was lucky... I'm fairly new also.
     
  5. Lepton1

    Lepton1 Road Train Member

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    This is one of my pet peeves and a dangerous bit of teaching, from DMV written tests through driving schools and company orientations: "Never downshift on a downgrade".

    That's the mantra and IMHO it is dead flat wrong. Everyone should know how to upshift and downshift going uphill or downhill. If you get "stuck" in a gear too high for the grade or if you get pinned behind a slower moving truck then what are you going to do, ride the brakes and burn them out on the way down?

    Learn how to downshift on a downgrade. Practice it until it is second nature. As soon as you know you need to downshift then SMOOTHLY brake until the rpm's are below 1000 and make the shift. If the downgrade is really steep then bring the rpm's down to 800 or so and shift because it will start speeding up as you make the shift. Note the speed where you start the shift and if you don't get into gear and it starts picking up speed simply brake again to that speed and try again. It's really not that hard.
     
  6. Mtn. Dew

    Mtn. Dew Light Load Member

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    Yes I agree, my first trucking company would not hire me if I couldn't. However, I have been told not to on snowy or icy downgrades.
     
  7. Lepton1

    Lepton1 Road Train Member

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    I know Watkins and Shepard require being able to up and downshift uphill and downhill on their hiring road test.

    I ran over the Rockies on I-70 a couple dozen times last year and HAD to be able to up and downshift on the downgrades. At times I wished they had the chain law in effect, it was bare and dry but then getting toward the top it would be snowing hard. Then it was a delicate balance trying to control speed downhill without chains and without breaking some semblance of traction and without having your trailer get to the bottom before you do.

    "They" also say to never use jakes on snow and ice. Coming down Vail or Eisenhower pass in slick conditions I used them, but you have to be smart about it. Don't just jam it on high setting at high rpm's and expect to be okay, that's a recipe for getting into a jackknife. Learn to EASE into it at low rpm's on low setting with EASY and SMOOTH brake application and the INSTANT you feel it getting greasy you have to cancel the jake and let it coast a bit (picking up a bit of speed) to straighten out and start easy braking down to low rpm's and start over.

    I think the mantra's that you never shift on a downhill or never use the jakes on snow or ice are ideas that the good idea fairy came up with to prevent new drivers from getting into trouble. Instead of actually teaching proper technique in these situations they simply avoid the topic altogether and end up getting new drivers in trouble the moment they are faced with a situation they don't know how to control.

    Seeing that CR England trailer burned to the ground at the bottom of Vail Pass from a fire that started from overheated brakes is an example of what can go horribly wrong with not teaching how to downshift on a downgrade.
     
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  8. Mtn. Dew

    Mtn. Dew Light Load Member

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    I'm driving a automatic now. going to have to learn a new approach to downhill snow and ice. I could stand a few pointers on that myself.
     
  9. nofreetime

    nofreetime Road Train Member

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    Downhill speed control is a topic that either gets over looked or is taught in totally unrealistic pie in sky kinda way in any winter driving education material that ive seen. Which is really pretty muffed up since its probably one off the most difficult aspects of winter driving.
     
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  10. n3ss

    n3ss Heavy Load Member

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    I think it's pretty smart to tell trainees not to shift on downgrades. Once you're completely comfortable shifting, go for it, but I'd say it's better to take it extra slow than to wind up in neutral halfway down cabbage at max weight. I'm still not perfect at shifting on downgrades, but for the most of it I can get it done.

    When using the jake is not a (safe) option, do you just go down another gear or two?
     
  11. Radman

    Radman Road Train Member

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    I80 or Wyoming in all doesn't use Salt only sand. So the roads stay Icy unlike places that use mag or salt. If it looks wet it's likely ice not wet. I think it's dumb they don't put salt or mag down. Would make a big difference out there. Just a warning if you drive across there.
     
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