Things that freeze on truckers
by Vicki Simons
There may be a lot of things that freeze on truckers in the winter, but I want to tell you about three that we know about first-hand. I categorize these under the Tricks of the Trade section of our site.
1. The first winter that Mike and I were in the trucking industry, we were rookies with Swift. We didn't know after running in snow not to set the parking brakes on our trailer when we parked on level ground.
I don't recall why I didn't take over driving that night (since we were team drivers
), but Mike parked our rig in Monticello, Utah. It was cold -- below freezing. Of course, the brakes froze to the drums overnight.
Unfortunately, we didn't have the tools with us to be able to free them very well. I don't recall what happened other than that Mike came back to the cab bleeding from trying to use a tool that wasn't meant for the job. That's why we now have a tools and equipment
section on our website, so that others can learn from that mistake.
Since we learned well from that experience, it backfired on us once. I asked through our Truckers' Savings Blog
last month, "How much of an incline or decline does it take for a truck to start rolling if the brakes aren't set?" It doesn't have to be much with a heavy truck and heavy load! What happened was that we had parked in a rest area in Wyoming. Mike set the brakes on the tractor but not the trailer. We thought the ground was level, but it wasn't!
I don't remember why I was in the driver's seat. Perhaps we were going to swap out driving. Anyway, it was an act of providence that I happened to glance out
the mirror and saw that our whole rig was sliding backwards! Yikes! I quickly stepped on the brake pedal. How horrible it would have been to have slid into the truck parked behind us. Whew! My heart was pounding hard!
2. When Mike was driving solo and I was with him as a passenger, he was driving through Kansas one night. It was foggy and below freezing. I had never been in freezing fog before. After a while, we heard this "thump, thump, thump" and correctly guessed that the fog had started to accumulate as ice on Mike's CB radio antennas. Under the weight of the ice, they were swaying back and forth and hitting the sides of the truck as it rolled down the road.
3. My last example of things that freeze on truckers is something that Mike has experience with in his capacity as a trucker hauling flatbed loads. In early 2014, we had gotten some rain in our area. He is in the habit of stopping about 30 minutes down the road after leaving the yard to check his straps.
In just the half-hour between the yard and his strap checking place one cold morning, his straps had frozen. It was quite a challenge to break them loose when he got to his customer. Perhaps some flatbed trucker who deals with straps in colder climates than we live in can shed some light on how he/she deals with frozen straps.
My conclusion is this: In the winter, allow some extra time to deal with things that freeze on truckers. Don't put yourself under so much pressure that you take shortcuts.
I encourage you to share some tricks of the trade
you have learned as a trucker that can help other truckers who may not know what you know. Pay it forward. Thanks.