When you’re new to trucking, driving in the mountains can be a little intimidating. With time, you’ll get used to navigating the ups and downs of mountain roads with ease, but until you feel confident, remembering some basic rules of the road can help. If you’re just getting used to driving your rig in the mountains, these tips will help you get used to the demands of roads.
Check the Grade
As a trucker, driving without knowing the grade of the road is risky. The grade will let you make the right decisions about how much speed you will need to safely climb and descend, so be mindful of looking for the grade signs that are posted along mountain roads. Don’t try to outdrive the grade. It’s normal for trucks to take much longer than regular cars to climb and descend mountain roads, so don’t try to rush it. Use the time you need to maneuver in a way that is safe for you and for other cars.
Keep a Steady Speed
When you’re on a mountain road, maintaining a slow, steady speed is the best way to travel, even if you feel like you’re only creeping along. Revving up and slamming on the brakes can cause your engine to overheat, especially when climbing uphill. When you’re going down, if you start going too fast, you won’t be able to get your speed back under control. Consider using your Jake brake to slow the momentum of a descent.
Use the Runaway Lanes if Needed
If your truck gets out of control on a mountain road, use the runaway lane. These lanes are there to keep you and other drivers safe, so don’t hesitate to use them. If you’re not sure if your truck is truly out of control, look in your rearview mirror. If the decaling on your trailer can be easily seen, there is a good chance that you will be unable to regain control without using the runaway lane.
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