It’s essential for trucker drivers to know how to safely drive in the mountains, especially during the winter time. That’s why we’ve aggregated some of the best tips and tricks for mountain driving safety to use when navigating risky terrain.
- Keep Your Truck Moving Slow and Steady
Slow and steady wins the race! Always creep down a hill and never travel too quickly. Once you have too much momentum while descending, it’s unlikely to regain control.
- Turn on Hazards if Necessary
If you’re descending below the posted speed limit, you may want to turn your hazards on for your safety and the safety of vehicles around you.
- Keep a Close Eye on Weather & Use Chains
An invaluable safety tip for truck drivers running mountain routes is to pay attention to weather reports. This helps with you trip planning and preparations.
- No Tailgating
This may seem obvious, but leave as much space as possible in front of your truck to make adjustments if necessary. Keep in mind that not every driver is following safety precautions as you are.
- Avoid Using Heavy Steady Pressure on Brakes
Using heavy, steady pressure can cause brakes to overheat and fade (fading particularly with drum brakes vs. air disc), reducing braking ability. Too much overheating can prevent you from stopping properly.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Use Runaway Lanes
If absolutely necessary, use the runaway lane. They are there for a reason! If you have in fact pulled your truck off the road and it lands in a ditch, be sure to shut off all of the power and move safely away from the truck.
- Retain Traction When Descending/Ascending
If you are losing traction when descending or ascending a steep grade, you can regain control by following these steps:
- Be careful not to overheat the engine. Turn on the engine fan.
- If the grade is slippery, throw in the diffs before you start the climb. Using all the drive wheels will aid in pulling you up the hill.
- If the hill is slippery, do not follow in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you. Make your own set of tracks and pull a little bit to the right.
- Don’t give the truck too much fuel! Gradually add power and keep the engine close to the top of the RPM range.
Whether you’re a seasoned truck driver with 20 years of experience under your belt or right out of training, if you follow all safety precautions, you’re sure to be a mountain driving pro!All Articles