Mountain driving is one of the more dangerous aspects of truck driving.
The first task is a thorough pre-trip, paying special attention to brakes; when driving in mountains it is possible for brakes to fade to the point where they may just quit working.
Climbing a mountain requires the driver to downshift to maintain pull on the trailer. If a driver misses a gear the truck can come to a complete stop and endanger him and other drivers. The driver needs to keep the rotation per minute (rpm) high without over tacking the engine. If the tachometer drops below 1,100 rpms, downshift to the next lower gear; being careful not to allow the rpms to exceed 2,000.
Signs tell you the grade you are about to encounter and for how long. Use rest areas of pull offs before the grade begins to check your brakes once more.
Descend in a gear lower than the one used at the crest. Use the engine retarder (Jake) brake to help you maintain a safe speed. Additional braking may be required when the Jake Brake is being used. Do not use the Jake Brake on slippery roads.
Lower gears allow engine compression and friction, which slow the vehicle. Once you are on the grade gearing down is not possible; if you try you will end up in neutral with no engine braking ability at all.
Use stab (snub) braking to lower the speed to 5mph below and no more than the legal speed limit; do not ride the brakes!
Keep the nose of the truck closer to the high side of curves when driving along tight winding roads. High speeds and tight curves result in more off tracking by the trailer.
Slow down and maintain control.
Positive Behavior Avoids Negative Attention:
How we behave on road can draw attention to us. We must observe local laws, speed limits, lane restrictions, weight limits and equipment requirements. Take the time to do your Pre and Post Trip, and do a good in-route inspection before re-entering your vehicle after every stop. Make sure you observe signs and their notices, keep good following distance, and avoid distractions such as dashboard dining or talking on the phone.
Act Fast After a Cut
Depending on the severity of the injury, you may be able to treat the injury yourself, or a visit to the emergency department may be needed. The following are first aid tips from the Mayo Clinic regarding treatment of cuts and scrapes:
- Stop the bleeding.Apply continuous, gentle pressure to a cut or scrape with a clean cloth or bandage for 20 to 30 minutes. Refrain from checking to see if the bleeding has stopped, as this may damage the clot that is forming. If blood continues flowing from the cut, seek medical help.
- Clean the wound.Rinse it out with water, but avoid using soap, which may cause irritation. Thorough cleaning reduces the risk of infection and tetanus.
- Apply an antibiotic.After cleaning the wound, apply a thin layer of an antibiotic cream to help keep the surface moist.
- Cover it up.Bandages can help keep the wound stay clean and keep bacteria out.
- Change the bandage regularly.Change the dressing every day or if it becomes wet or dirty.
- Get stitches if needed.If your cut is more than ¼ inch (6 mm) deep and is gaping or jagged, you likely need stitches. See a doctor immediately – proper closure within a few hours helps reduce the risk of infection.
- Watch for signs of infection.Visit a doctor if you notice signs such as redness, increasing pain, drainage, warmth or swelling.
- Get a tetanus shot.Doctors recommend a tetanus shot every 10 years. Deep cuts may prompt your doctor to recommend a tetanus shot booster.
THE MERITS OF ONE LANE TRUCKING
“Stay in your lane.” Translation: It’s normally in your best interest to maintain a single lane of travel until you come to a stop. What could force you to leave your lane? Reasons under your control may be the fact you are traveling too fast for conditions or lose control due to slick roads, loss of vision, cargo shifts, wind, tire failure or mechanic failure. Or maybe you are fatigued.
Other reasons for leaving your lane may not be under your control — for example, the driver of a car intentionally cutting you off or being negligently out of control, or an animal hitting your truck. Whatever the situation, you are in a better position and will likely do less harm to yourself and others and create less property damage if you maintain a single lane of travel during any incident. There may be exceptions, but the general rule is this: You are required to always have your vehicle under control.
Avoid Being Boxed In
Guard your safety by actively creating space around your vehicle, never allowing yourself to get "boxed in." Adequate space creates time to make decisions and helps you avoid collisions. Maintain at LEAST seven seconds of following distance, more if you can. You should be able to see a minimum of 15 seconds ahead of your vehicle. Check your mirrors every 5-8 seconds to maintain 360 degrees of awareness.
Adjust your position in traffic as necessary to avoid driving in others' blind areas.
Don't allow yourself to be tailgated—adjust your speed or change lanes to encourage tailgaters to pass you.
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