mountain driving in winter

#1
I drive a Freightliner with the automatic transmission. I'm still in my first year as a truck driver and have experienced driving in mountains and driving in winter conditions, but I haven't had the combined experience of mountain driving when it's slick. I've read and heard mixed messages. Some say don't use the engine brake, some say it's okay in these new trucks. I'm not sure whether it's best to switch the transmission to manual mode and drop to a lower gear or leave it in auto and use the engine brake. If you think manual mode is best, what speed would you recommend for a 5% downgrade in snowy/icy conditions? I'm usually fairly heavy with 40,000 lbs or more.

I appreciate the advice.
 

Tazz

Infidel
Supporter
#3
I drive a Freightliner with the automatic transmission. I'm still in my first year as a truck driver and have experienced driving in mountains and driving in winter conditions, but I haven't had the combined experience of mountain driving when it's slick. I've read and heard mixed messages. Some say don't use the engine brake, some say it's okay in these new trucks. I'm not sure whether it's best to switch the transmission to manual mode and drop to a lower gear or leave it in auto and use the engine brake. If you think manual mode is best, what speed would you recommend for a 5% downgrade in snowy/icy conditions? I'm usually fairly heavy with 40,000 lbs or more.

I appreciate the advice.
Well you can go down a hill to slow a million times. Too fast is usually limited to one time. So without knowing your ability, comfort, road, equipment etc my suggestion would be manual below 20-25. After you get some experience that may go up as conditions warrant.
 

dchawk81

Well-Known Member
#4
Fortunately our FL automatics still have manual mode. I'll go down a hill as slow as I can in a low, manually selected gear, without jakes. Basically creeping.

Having said that, I'll avoid going out in the first place if it's that bad.
 

Rigjockey

Well-Known Member
Supporter
#5
Do not, do not and don't use the jake brake in slippery conditions. I don't even use it in rain. if you do, you are going to have a bad time

Definitely be in manual mode! Once you break traction in automatic the truck is going to shift into a higher gear and you are definitely going to have a bad time. :thumbsup:
 

gearjammer

jammer
Staff member
Supporter
#7
you might get an education on how to sling chains.lol
no radical turning,try to maintain speed without breaking traction, if you do loose traction feather the throttle until you regain it, light touches on the throttle and brakes, relax.
 

Rigjockey

Well-Known Member
Supporter
#8
We've got snow! Full blown winter! Maybe it's a good thing....I have a good excuse for going really slow. Any tips for going uphill in the snow?
Keep your RPM in the high range, You do not want to be torquing in slick conditions. Make your down shifts sooner at higher RPM.
No jakes and easy on the brakes.
 
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RDBG

Well-Known Member
#9
Speaking of I went over the Coquihalla (yes Highway thru Hell) on Friday....also my birthday. I am 12 wide crossing about 100k. My boss got a hard way education on why socks while legal are useless when my pilot and myself got to watch spun out truck after spun out truck chain up and take off while we waited 3 hours for a pull up after I shut down the highway almost singlehandedly. I won't be going back without iron.
 

ironpony

Well-Known Member
Supporter
#10
you might get an education on how to sling chains.lol
no radical turning,try to maintain speed without breaking traction, if you do loose traction feather the throttle until you regain it, light touches on the throttle and brakes, relax.
Downshift sooner rather than trying to stay in a gear with more power. You don't have the same traction on wet/snow packed/icy road surfaces as you would on a dry road.

Keep your RPM in the high range, You do not want to be torquing in slick conditions. Make your down shifts sooner at higher RPM.
No jakes and easy on the brakes.
Stay in higher gears only works with lighter trailers.

Speaking of I went over the Coquihalla (yes Highway thru Hell) on Friday....also my birthday. I am 12 wide crossing about 100k. My boss got a hard way education on why socks while legal are useless when my pilot and myself got to watch spun out truck after spun out truck chain up and take off while we waited 3 hours for a pull up after I shut down the highway almost singlehandedly. I won't be going back without iron.
Autosocks - what a joke. Great for getting unstuck in a parking lot. If you have any serious miles to do they'll shred before you're done.

The best place to learn how to chain is a dry parking g lot on a warm day. OP should do herself a favor and practice before you have to do it at night in a snowstorm at the roadside.

Make sure you chain up at a place you can get well off of the road surface... and keep an eye on the oncoming traffic. Don't forget to stop after 5 or 10 miles to tighten them up.
 

RDBG

Well-Known Member
#11
Autosocks - what a joke. Great for getting unstuck in a parking lot. If you have any serious miles to do they'll shred before you're done.

The best place to learn how to chain is a dry parking g lot on a warm day. OP should do herself a favor and practice before you have to do it at night in a snowstorm at the roadside.

Make sure you chain up at a place you can get well off of the road surface... and keep an eye on the oncoming traffic. Don't forget to stop after 5 or 10 miles to tighten them up.
That's what I told them. Tires have more traction ffs. I'm out a little time. They got to whip out a card.
 

Rigjockey

Well-Known Member
Supporter
#12
Keep your RPM in the high range, You do not want to be torquing in slick conditions. Make your down shifts sooner at higher RPM.
No jakes and easy on the brakes.
Downshift sooner rather than trying to stay in a gear with more power. You don't have the same traction on wet/snow packed/icy road surfaces as you would on a dry road.



Stay in higher gears only works with lighter trailers.
Umm, did I say anything about Higher gears? No I didn't! I said, Keep your RPM in the high range, You do not want to be torquing in slick conditions. Make your down shifts sooner at higher RPM.
 
#14
I drive a Freightliner with the automatic transmission. I'm still in my first year as a truck driver and have experienced driving in mountains and driving in winter conditions, but I haven't had the combined experience of mountain driving when it's slick. I've read and heard mixed messages. Some say don't use the engine brake, some say it's okay in these new trucks. I'm not sure whether it's best to switch the transmission to manual mode and drop to a lower gear or leave it in auto and use the engine brake. If you think manual mode is best, what speed would you recommend for a 5% downgrade in snowy/icy conditions? I'm usually fairly heavy with 40,000 lbs or more.

I appreciate the advice.
TruckerBC,

Driving in the snowy mountains in a semi is one of the most difficult and potentially dangerous types of driving a trucker can experience. Making sure that you have tire chains is the first step you should take when trying to prevent any hazards.

You need to read this article we found online of a veteran truck driver who has had his fair share of snowy drives! Be safe!

Fleet Trailer Team
 

Keendriver

Hates all of you
Supporter
#15
TruckerBC,

Driving in the snowy mountains in a semi is one of the most difficult and potentially dangerous types of driving a trucker can experience. Making sure that you have tire chains is the first step you should take when trying to prevent any hazards.

You need to read this article we found online of a veteran truck driver who has had his fair share of snowy drives! Be safe!

Fleet Trailer Team
You didn't post a link to said story.


Or do we just search for the story you found?:dunno:
 

Keendriver

Hates all of you
Supporter
#17
There might have been a link that was possibly removed by an alleged moderator.

But I can't be sure. I don't remember.
In the mean time I'm stuck on top of a snowy mountain with no clue how to get safely down.


"Alleged moderator"
Do you apply for that job or are you chosen for that job?