One of the most difficult challenges that every truck driver has to go through is overcoming major grades. Therefore, each of them must know how to effectively and safely drive on mountain slopes, no matter how high they are.
In this post, we’ll talk about ways to navigate trailers through the mountains that will help both beginners as well as those who are refreshing their skills in driving.
Tips For Driving A Truck Down A Mountain
Even a veteran trucker may have a hard time driving down a mountain so if you’re a beginner or have little to no experience in descending a grade, it’s important to remember how dangerous it can be if you’re NOT following the necessary safety protocols.
Check For Grade Signs
The thing is, you cannot exactly determine the grade of a hill just by looking at it. So be sure to look for grade signs and when in doubt, drive as slow as you think you have to.
As mentioned above, go slower than you think you have. When you drive downhill, your trailer might pick up speed, especially if you’re carrying a heavy load. If you start too fast, it might be difficult to control the speed anymore.
Turn On Hazard Lights
When driving through negative road conditions, it’s ideal to make use of the hazard lights. Turning the hazard lights on serves as a sign for other drivers that you are a temporary hazard, therefore, using it when you’re below the posted speed limit can help keep you and other drivers safe.
Keep An Eye Out For Road Conditions
If the road conditions are poor, driving slowly is even more crucial to avoid skidding and sliding. Keep an eye on weather forecasts and keep in mind that mountain weather can change suddenly. To be extra cautious, you might always check to see if there is an alternate route without a steep incline.
It’s natural to feel confident driving on familiar routes, but be mindful of becoming overconfident, especially on downgrades. Unexpected hazards, like a disabled vehicle or a patch of ice, can be quite dangerous if you are not paying attention.
Tips For Driving A Truck Up A Mountain
Driving uphill presents its own set of difficulties and safety concerns. Here are a few things you should know before you find yourself at the bottom of a steep hill with a dangerous climb ahead of you.
Keep The Engine Cool
The most common issue when driving up a steep incline is probably overheating the truck’s engine. You can still overheat your engine in the winter if you’re not careful. When you know you’re going to be approaching a mountain, turn on the engine fan. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge and don’t wait until the engine has reached operating temperature.
Take It Easy
As with going downhill, slowly ascending a mountain or hill is recommended. If you push your truck too hard and too rapidly, your engine can overheat.
Produce Your Beats
Avoid following in the tracks of trucks ahead of you when traction is weak. To improve traction and prevent slippage, pull slightly to the right.
Switch On The Drive Wheels
When traction is poor, engaging all of your driving wheels may help. This will help you pull the truck up the hill.
Conserve The Fuel
If you provide too much fuel, you risk spinning your wheels. Slowly step on the gas, just enough to get you going up the hill without going too quickly.
Include Chains At The Bottom
Tire chains help to improve traction by cutting through ice and snow. If you observe signs indicating that you need to place chains on your wheels when going in the winter or snowy/icy weather, do so at the bottom of the hill. Don’t wait until there’s a problem to put your chains on.
Nobody hates being delayed for any reason, but if conditions are too risky and you can’t avoid a steep climb, don’t be afraid to get off the road. Arriving late is preferable to risking everything by attempting to maneuver in hazardous road conditions.
You will probably have to drive up and down hills and mountains with varied grades while traveling on the highway. Keep these safety tips in mind when driving on slippery, icy, or otherwise dangerous roads, and obey all applicable safety rules.