Life and Family

Doing Your Job

When running on snow-covered roads is it better to run at a higher or lower rpm to avoid the drives kicking out?

Snow covered isn't too bad as long as it's not slippery or slick. The danger in having the drives kick out from under you is highest on icy or slick pavement -- even wet roads can pose a problem under certain circumstances.

This issue here is torque. Torques is what turns the wheels, and today's engines produce their maximum torque at low rpm, usually in the 1100-1300 rpm range. You want to avoid running your engine in that high torque output range when ever the roads are slippery. So, depending on how bad it is, you'd want to run at 1600-1700 at cruise speed, and if you're crawling up a slippery hill, keep the engine revs right up there, say 1900-2000. It's not great on fuel, but you lessen the risk of breaking traction.

And don't forget the engine brake. On slick roads, many engine brakes will stop the wheels dead and kill your traction. If that happens, you won't be able to restart fast enough to prevent a jackknife. The best you could hope for is to kick the clutch in REALLY quickly and hope you can recover.

It's best not to use the engine brake at all on slippery pavement.

Jim Park

Must log sheets be handed in right away or is there a time limit, and can your pay be withheld until they've been handed in?

The American rules stipulate that log sheets must be handed in to the carrier within 13 days, and the Canadian rules say the sheets must be turned over to the carrier within 20 days. The US rules state that driver must keep copies of the preceding seven days' logs as well as supporting documents such as fuel and toll receipts, etc. Canadian rules require that drivers working on the 14-day cycle retain 14 days worth of past logs, or seven or eight days' worth, depending on which cycle the drivers is working in.

As for the requirement that they must be handed in before you're paid, that may be a company policy. It's possible that log sheets are used in calculating pay, or to verify hours worked and miles driver, etc. If that is the case where your work, it's likely that you won't be paid until the log sheets are handed in.

Jim Park

In your recent article on mountain driving, you suggested drivers shouldn't use "Jake Brakes" on rainy or snowy roads. Is that true always?

There's no universal Yes or No answer to this. Caution should always be used when operating on anything other than clean dry pavement. Since an engine brake has more than enough power to lock up the wheels, it's possible that when the wheels lock up the engine will stall. Some recent model trucks have electronic safeguards that will disengage the engine brake if the wheels are about to lock up, but don't depend on it.

It a matter of traction. If the roads are very slippery, or the truck is lightly loaded, the likelihood of skidding due to wheel lockup is far greater. A situation like this will cause the drive wheels to lock up and skid, causing the trailer to push forward. This results in a jackknife where the tractor turns sideways and slams up against the side of the trailer.

Use of the engine brake on slippery roads requires a high degree of vigilance. I suggest you descend the hill slowly with the engine brake on low or medium setting. If the road appears slippery, turn it off. Of course, you'll need to be going slow enough to use your service brakes at a modest application pressure as well, as they may cause a wheel lock up too. Even ABS is no guarantee against a jackknife. The jackknife may have already begun before the ABS allows the wheels to begin free-rolling again.

Jim Park

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Is Canada changing its HOS regs to the same as the USA's? If so when? - 10-Jul-04
I work a carrier that hauls dangerous goods. I learned recently that the loads were not up to code. Where can I get the information about carrier responsibility and obligations? - 03-Jun-04
Having my own rights and insurance, hauling as private carrier, do I need a contract from the company I'm hauling for because I have their name on the door and trailer? - 02-Apr-04
I recently got a ticket in N.Y. for not having an ďHUTĒ sticker and I'm trying to ascertain where the responsibility lies in obtaining the new decal. Should I have been responsible for the decal? - 03-Mar-04
Where are all the trucks going to park after Jan 4? There isnít enough parking now! We are not allowed to sleep on the on- and off-ramps. If youíre caught you face a fine. With the rest areas and truckstops full by dinnertime, what are we supposed to do? - 22-Dec-03
I drive 45 minutes to my terminal. How do I log this time? - 24-Nov-03
If Iím coming out of the U.S. and into Canada, do I follow Canadian laws or U.S. laws when I get here? May I drive 13 hours or do I shutdown after 10? - 03-Nov-03
For leased owner operators, who pays broker fees, and, how and when does the money come out of settlement? - 03-Jun-03
If you are stuck in line at the border, can we book this time off-duty? - 02-Apr-03
What am I supposed to do when Iím required to stop for a scale, but the lane is backed up to the shoulder? Itís not safe to stop, and itís illegal to go bypass the scale. - 20-Feb-03
Is there a difference between a limited company and an incorporated one if so what are they? - 27-Jan-03
Why do veteran drivers always tell potential new drivers not to get into the business? - 04-Dec-02
What is the average net income of a long haul trucker? - 25-Nov-02
Have you heard anything about a court case in London Ont. where the Judge dismissed the charges of pulling a 53' trailer with a tractor that had a wheelbase over 244 inches.? - 04-Apr-02
Is it possible to use the log book in Canada under Canadian rules, so as to never run out of hours? - 04-Mar-02
My contract I have states that I'm supposed to get reasonable mileage per month. Whatís reasonable? And, is it legal to charge me $200 for administration for my truck loan? - 26-Jan-02
What is an I-94 Pass? - 20-Jan-02
If you are a broker, on percentage-of-revenue, does the carrier have to show you what they are paid so that you can calculate your statement? - 04-Jan-02
Why do trucking companies make you explain, in writing, what you were doing in between driving jobs while unemployed? - 07-Oct-01
Why is it that so few truckers and trucking companies are using Synthetic engine oil. - 11-Aug-01
Why does fuel mileage drop in the winter? - 17-Mar-01
Are there any sort of guidelines that should govern a contract of employment between a company and a person seeking employment as a Company Driver? - 22-Feb-01
Is there any one website that offers all the regulations concerning trucks and truck drivers? - 16-Nov-00
Who can an O/O go to for help when the company butchers his paycheque with deductions with no paperwork to back them up? - 02-Oct-00
What does the law state reguarding off duty status eg: lunch ,coffee breaks etc. when hauling dangerous goods? - 02-Aug-00
Is it legal to log waiting time as sleeper time, as some carriers suggest? - 28-Jun-00
If I am running with an empty trailer,and NOT getting paid, do I have to maintain a log for that day? - 26-Jun-00
Can you tell me what causes the high-Low splitter in my transmission to go bad? - 19-Apr-00
My dispatcher tells me that time waiting for a load is off duty time. I think the rules say it's on duty. Which is true? - 17-Dec-99
What's the most efficient way to run: 4 on and 4 off, or 13 and 8. Also, do I need to indicate a shift start time on the log sheet? - 08-Nov-99
Will a Canadian driver, complying with the Canadian hours of service regulations while driving in Canada, be in violation of the U.S. 10-hour rule when he enters the U.S.? - 19-Oct-99