Safe Mountain Driving for Trucks

Safe Mountain Driving for Trucks

Driving in the mountains can be a tricky affair, and driving a heavy truck adds an extra layer of complication. Make sure you are driving safely by always observing the following:

  1. Always inspect your braking system thoroughly before beginning the trip.

  2. Look for highway signs that warn of downgrades.

  3. Take advantage of designated pull-off areas on the side of the road that allow you to check brakes during your trip.

  4. Shift to a low gear before starting down the hill. If you have one, use your retarder.

  5. Use snub braking. This is done by allowing the truck to reach the highest possible safe speed, braking until that speed is reduced by 5 mph, releasing until the highest possible safe speed is reached again, and repeating the process until the bottom of the hill. If you continually step on the brakes, or “fan” them (apply and release repeatedly) the heavy brake pressures will cause heat that may cause brakes to fade and then eventually fail.

  6. Keep one second of space in front of your vehicle for each 10 feet of vehicle at speeds below 40 mph, and add a second for speeds above 40 mph. So for a 50 foot vehicle, you’d need 5 seconds of space between you and the vehicle ahead of you if you’re driving 35 mph, but you’d need 6 seconds of space between you if you were driving 45 mph.

  7. Identify escape ramps on your route. If your brakes fail and no escape route is available, look for a flat or uphill side road or open field.

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