7 Crucial Truck Driving Tips for Mountain Driving
Mountain driving is difficult and can be dangerous in any vehicle. Add a semi truck into the mix, and you really have to drive with skill, care, and caution. When truck driving on mountain roads, it’s extra important to stay alert and prepare properly for the route.
Not sure how to go down a mountain in a truck? We’ve got the top 7 truck driving tips for mountain roads. Read on to find out the best ways to keep yourself and other drivers safe while out on mountainous roads.
If you’ve got an upcoming route that will include automatic semi truck mountain driving, the first step in ensuring your safety is preparing. Take the time to look at the route and research areas where other drivers may have had issues in the past.
Make sure you’re aware of weather conditions as well as traffic conditions and road closures. Check the status on each of these items periodically and as close to your departure as possible as these are likely to change.
Before starting any mountain driving in a semi truck, you should also be sure to check your vehicle. This is certainly the case before starting any route, but it’s extra important when weather and steep grades are a critical factor.
When it comes to the grade, always check road signs. It is essential that you look for marked signs and don’t guess what the grade is. However much experience you have, it is very difficult to estimate the grade with the naked eye, so trust the road signs.
While this seems like a given, there are accidents time and time again that prove this must be reiterated. Maintain a slow and steady speed. This is for your safety and for the safety of those around you.
Too often, drivers think they can pick up speed because they are nearing the end of the mountain. This can cause you to dangerously pick up speed when it’s not yet safe to do so. Be sure that you continue to pay attention to grade signs throughout the entire mountain, even as you’re nearing the bottom.
As we mentioned above, it is important to know the weather conditions before setting out on your route. A common mistake regarding weather is feeling too comfortable on a route that you drive all the time.
If you consistently drive a certain mountain road and you feel confident in your skills on that road – that’s great! But, it’s always important to check weather conditions. A patch of ice could be very dangerous to any driver, even those that have driven that road hundreds of times before.
Avoid Service Brake Application
According to Andy Roberts, it’s best to “to maintain a speed where the engine rpm is in the 1,800- to 2,000-rpm range in any of the three engine brake positions”. This is so that you can avoid the use of service brake application, and instead switch the engine brake position when needed.
Ignore Faster Drivers
Other drivers will fly down the hill. They’re in very different vehicles. Ignore those drivers. Let them pass you, they may even honk at you. It’s important for you to be safe and drive your truck at a slow and steady speed no matter what else is happening around you.
Runaway lanes are there for a reason. If you’ve lost control of your semi and feel like you can no longer handle your speed, use a runaway lane. Don’t let your ego get the best of you. These lanes are there for that specific reason, and there is no shame in keeping you and everyone else safe.