New drivers will quickly find that driving in the mountains is not like anywhere else. If you have never driven in this terrain, there are a few tips that can make life a lot safer and easier. While you won’t always know the roads you are on as well as others, there are similarities in all mountainous areas that require the same driving considerations. The following suggestions will help you as you get started driving in the mountains.
- Watch the Weather -Make sure you always look ahead at the weather and road conditions for the area where you will be traveling. Plan ahead and in the event of icy or wintry weather, determine if there is a different route you can take to maintain a lower grade.
- Leave Plenty of Room -There is no such thing as “too much room” when it comes to driving in the mountains. If another vehicle ahead of you begins to have difficulty you don’t want to risk running into them. Keep lots of space so you have room to stop.
- Regaining Control -If you are beginning to lose control, you can try to pick up a little gravel from the shoulder. This will often help regain some control of the truck while driving in the mountains.
- Slow Down -While it seems like common sense, slower is always better in the mountains. You do not want to run the risk of losing control of your truck. This is serious business and can result in a fatal accident.
- Use the Jake Brake -According to Smart-Trucking, when going down a steep grade, using the Jake Brake to do most of the braking is the best policy. This will require that you start in a low gear coming down the grade.
- Chains -You should always chain-up at the bottom of a hill. Don’t ever try to climb an icy hill. This is part of watching the weather conditions and sometimes waiting is the best policy if you are caught. You’re talking about your life and potentially the lives of others.
- Use the Runaway Lane if Necessary –DSW suggests that if you can see the decals from your trailer in your rearview mirror, you need to use the runaway lane. They are found on mountainous roads and are there to protect you and others. Use them when in doubt about control when on the mountain.
Keep these tips in mind when you are driving your truck on mountains and on graded roads. Contact us to discuss truck driver training services to get you started on the path to success in this high demand industry.