I wish I could say that every turn you are going to make will be truck friendly but it is not. Once you are off the freeway or highway you need to be on full alert. You need to be constantly checking your mirrors and looking at your trailer tires and just because you are straightening up your truck and trailer does not mean that you can now stop looking. That is when new drivers hit stuff the most, your eyes need to be watch nearly the whole time til you are straight and past the corner.
Not every turn is going to be the same. Sometimes when you make a right-hand turn you will have to take over the entire road to clear the corner and sometimes you will need to take wide at all. Your truck is going to have to do a lot of long maneuvering for your trailer to do a little.
Correct Lane To be In
City. Okay, most of the time you are going to need to be in the right lane when you are on a multi-lane road going through a city, but not every situation is black and white. I like to keep out of the right lane in the city when all that there is is a sidewalk, and you are only inches away from the curb. I think it is better to be hanging out in the left lane. But not everyone would agree with that. But for all they know you are going to be making a left hand turn any time soon. So that might not be the worst thing. But what would be the worst thing is if you are driving on the right lane and a family with kids accidently fell onto the road, there would be no options. So what I am trying to say that is if you have a choice to be in either lane on a 4 lane city street with a center turn lane and have a sidewalk right next to the right lane, just think what is safer for everyone. But is there is enough room next to the sidewalk then it is fine. These streets that trucks drive on are not made for them most for the time.
Merging Onto The Freeway
You need to try and match the speed of traffic before you merge on the freeway, but it is rare that you ever will be able to do so. Trucks are heavy and slow, and can not do that, all you can do is try your best to do so.
If you are driving a car and you are merging onto a freeway you have a capability of getting up to speed to match other drivers on the road before you need to get over. That is no the case with trucks, especially a truck that has a heavy load on it. 99 times out a 100 if you are merging onto a freeway people driving cars will do 1 of 4 things…
They will speed up to get in front of you,
They will slow down to let you in,
They will get over one lane to the left to let you in,
Or they will ignore you and maintain their speed and hold their ground not caring that you are a truck because they have right of way and do not have to move. That is rarely the case but it has happened. And because that has happened 1 out of 100 times you need to think that it will happen every time. Always drive on the side that there are stupid not very nice courtesy drivers out there that like to make life for truckers harder than it already is.
Now cars have the option to maneuver quick and adjust to trucks coming onto the freeways, but if you are merging and there is a convoy of trucks you may need to slow down and adjust to them.
DO NOT STOP if there is no space for you to merge. Keep that turn signal on and even if you have to drive on the shoulder then do so till there is space. If you stop and panic you can cause a huge problem for the people behind you and cause a crash. People on the road don’t want to get into an accident as much as you don’t, so they will adjust to you. Remember, it will hurt them a lot more they there is a crash, you are much bigger then you are.
Ohhh signs, these are things that newer drivers forget to look all the time at because they are busy just trying not to crash their big new truck. I asked many students “what did that sign just say” and they would respond with I don’t know or with the wrong answer, then seconds later I would as the same thing, and again they would not know. I would do this over and over again till they realized I was going to keep asking them till they got it right. signs are hard to read when there is so much going on on the road.
Because driving is your life now, you better know what signposts are the most important to look for.
Speed limit signs. Constantly be checking the speed limit. They change all the time, and it may not even look like they should. You will get ticketed for speeding, usually, you have to be going over 4 mph, but its betting to drive on the side that not every cop is nice enough to give you a break.
Truck route signs. There are many freeways that have a road that truck needs to use. There are reasons why the state has created them. So don’t ignore them. It may because of a low overpass, or a turn that trucks can’t make. So always look out for them and obey them.
Weigh Station ahead. Drivers every day don’t see these signs and get ticketed for not pulling in.
Interstate turns and freeways. The big green sign telling you what freeways are coming up.
Rest Areas. This is going to be your safe haven during the day. And when you take the rest area exit make sure you are looking for the next sign. Truck and trailer parking. Because if you take the autos entrance you may not be able to get out of there, you make get stuck, because it was made for just cars to park in there.
Trip planning does not have to be hard, it does not have to be a huge ordeal to where you are deciding every single stop in advance. Just a couple maybe.
In trip planning, I will figure out how many miles it will take for me to get to my destination and that way I can figure out how many hours it will take which then I can calculate into days. I like to give myself around 500 miles per day, so if I am going a distance of 2500 miles, I know that’ll take 5 days if I am driving 10 hours a day I would average myself to be going 50 miles per hour. The reason why I give myself 50 miles per hour is that there’s a lot of traffic, truck stops, roads which bring your average speed down a little bit even though you are going 60 miles an hour probably on the freeway on average.
At the start of the day, you do not have to decide where you’re going to stop, but it doesn’t hurt to do that. to check out a few options, you need to check out which are the truck stops are rest areas that you can park at after a certain amount of Miles usually between 500 and 650 mile stretch, because I like to drive as much as possible in one day I will aim for the truck stop that is 650 miles away but knows that I will probably have to go to a truck stop before that.
When your company asks you for an ETA to the customer you should have the ability to tell them within seconds I’m just knowing the pickup time and the mileage it will take to get to the destination. 500 miles equals 1 day, thousand miles equals 2 days, 2000 miles equals 4 days, 3000 miles equals 6 days.
When you are planning a new route for the first time you need to use Google Maps.
If you are not using Google Maps, life is going to be much harder for you. When you are driving through a city for the first time and you were using your truck GPS, your truck GPS will not notify you how wide to take your turn, so you can go on Google Maps to check out every turn that you are going to make and that way you are prepared for everything ahead of you.
You can even see what the customer looks like before you get there allowing you to see if there are parking spaces, or if you have to park on the street or something. so before you have to take the exit into the city to make your delivery check every single turn that you were going to make just so you know how to take it.
So your home away from home should be your truck and anything you don’t get in your truck well you’re going to have to go to a truck stop for.
If you need to shower you’re going to have to go to a truck stop but luckily for you most of the time you do not have to pay for those because you will get a free shower after you feel at least 50 gallons, if you would have not purchased over 50 gallons of fuel you are going to have to pay around $10 to shower.
in every truck stop, there will be a restaurant for you when you do not want to cook in your truck or have a meal in your truck or maybe you just want to company of another human being to shoot the s*** with because it can get very lonely when you were by yourself day to day.
Truck stops get full really early especially the smaller ones closer to the city. so if you know that you need to be at a certain truck stop closer to the city because you are delivering the next morning you may want to get there pretty early like before 3 p.m.
I would love to tell you that truck stops are a beautiful place but they’re not quite, as they smell and they are loud and can be full of illegal activity that I will not go into concerning the oldest profession ever.
Now weigh stations are something that you were going to come across every day multiple times a day especially when you are entering a new state they are usually within the first 30 miles they are often called Port of entries. before you start your day it is best to go on to your phone and check to see exactly what station is you are going to be going through so that you are prepared in your mind that you know when to expect them and that you won’t accidentally miss them because there is a nice fine for skipping a scale now most of the time you will go over a way in motion to where you do not have to scale but it is best to always know when a scale is coming up
Driving on the snow and ice can be a very stressful situation, you should always be on your guard when driving, you should always have a huge stopping distance from the vehicle in front of you when you are exiting off a freeway do most of your slowing down driving in a straight line so when you do have to turn you are already going at the proper Speed without having to use your brakes.
Every time you touch the brakes look in your mirrors to make sure that your trailer is still behind you in a straight line and not drifting off to the left or to the right. especially if you have to hit your brakes pretty hard because of a vehicle in front of you slows down. When braking and you look in the mirror and you see your trailer going off to the right or to the left it is because the trailer axles have locked up and are not following behind you anymore. to correct this you need to take your leg off the brick and once the trailer is behind you perfectly again you can get back on the brake and keep repeating that process until you are stopped or slowed down enough. When you were chaining you have to make sure that you have at least one tire-chained up on the trailer, the reason for this is so that when you are braking, your trailer will not drift to the left or to the right and that it will have traction.
In most cases, you need to have 4 Drive tires chained up. please watch my very detailed Channing up videos.
When you are breaking it is not instant that you will slow down because we are using air brakes and it takes just a few microseconds to kick in, so you need to be prepared for that every time you touch the brake.
When you come to a curve are turn without being prepared and you have to slow down really quickly, you want to apply a lot more breaks before you start to turn so when you are turning you do not have to apply any brakes it is best to take to turn without using your brakes so you do not roll the truck or jackknife. If you have to Skid it is better to Skid going in a straight line then to apply your brakes so hard that you are skidding on the corner.