TRUCKING TIPS FOR MONUTAIN ROADS
It is highly likely one will encounter a wide range of driving situations and terrains as an over-the-road (OTR) trucker. And in most cases, this involves driving in the mountains. If you are a new driver, your first few mountain routes on your own can be difficult, so here are some tips to help you take things slow and get ready before hitting the road.
BEFORE THE DRIVE
Test Your Brakes
Every day before you start driving, perform a detailed pre-trip examination. This should always be thorough, and any issues should be addressed immediately. If you know you'll be driving through mountains, double-check your brakes to ensure they're in good operating order.
Pull over and check your brakes again if there is a brake check spot before the mountain road.
Make Weather Preparations
Weather conditions in the mountains may differ from those at lower elevations. Check the weather forecast and be ready. If there is snow or ice on the radar, ensure your tires are properly chained.
Wait it out if the weather makes it hard to drive safely. It's always best to wait a bit longer to get to your goal rather than endangering yourself and others. Make sure to notify your dispatcher of any changes to your plans, but don't let anyone pressure you into driving in hazardous weather.
Recharge your batteries
In the mountains, there aren't going to be many gas stations, so fill up before you set out. Having a full tank means that you won't run out of gas in an emergency.
DURING THE DRIVE
Take it easy.
This is a useful suggestion to keep in mind if you're traveling across challenging terrain or in less-than-ideal road conditions. It's been said that you can drive down a mountain hundreds of times too slowly, but only once too fast.
Put on your hazards and let others pass you, but don't get too caught up in how quickly they're driving. A semi-truck is far larger than a passenger car, and it simply cannot keep up with them on mountainous routes. It's possible that other tractor-trailers are moving faster since they aren't loaded.
The "descent mode" option on newer automatic trucks engages the Jake brakes to keep your vehicle moving at a safe speed. Keep in mind that you'll probably need to use the service brakes to keep your speed under control, but do so sparingly and carefully.