You don’t necessarily need to have a fleet of brand new trucks to maintain accurate deliveries and keep drivers safe on the road when trucking in Colorado. Keeping trucks well maintained and drivers well trained are the necessary components for driving in in wintery conditions. Here are a few of our essential best practices for truck driving in the Colorado Mountains.
Having properly trained drivers is essential. At Domenico Transportation we have a digital driving simulator, which helps us really gauge if a driver knows how to handle a big rig in the mountains. Having every company driver use the simulator in snowy and icy conditions is a lot safer than doing it on an actual road test. Evaluating qualified drivers before hiring is a key recruitment tool.
Proper tires & the Right Air Pressure
You can put too much air in radial tires, which makes tires taller. Optimum air pressure lays the tread out longer so you have more tire on the ground surface at any given time.
Having well maintained trucks including heater, defroster and cruise control are a high priority. Top notch trucks that are regularly maintained will ensure fewer breakdowns and on time deliveries.
You can only go so fast up a mountain! You don’t need 500 horsepower but you have to have torque.
Tire chain prep only takes 5 minutes. Having adequate sets of chains and knowing how to properly chain up tires is very important. If you don’t put inside and outside chains, drape the chain over the tired and pull it forward, hooking the inside and outside chains. Many drivers only hook one link on the outside chains instead of going as far up as you can. You want to go as far up as possible. It has to be difficult to lock down and turn to tighten. If you hear a chain slapping on the ground, it will surely break off, so fixing it in place is essential.
This might sound obvious, but make sure you have enough fuel when driving through snowy conditions incase you get stuck or stranded. It’s that simple.
Knowing How to Drive
If you’re not comfortable driving 15-18 mph you will likely be blocking the road…and slow everyone down.
Personal Protective Gear
Making sure drivers have protective gear including overalls, a hat, warm gloves and steel-toed shoes with good tread is crucial. Do not wear cowboy boots when outside of a truck in icy conditions. At Domenico, we will reimburse our drivers up to $70/year for the proper shoes or other protective gear. Also, having an overnight bag with essentials including a candle is important incase you do break down. If you’re stranded a candle can help you stay warm in freezing conditions.
Know Traffic Patterns
Knowing where the most traffic is when driving in the mountains of Colorado impacts on time deliveries. For example, most traffic in the morning is heading towards ski areas, and heading back, down the mountains in the afternoon. Know peak travel times and schedule drivers around them.
If you are a Colorado truck driver and have experience trucking in the mountains, check out our truck driver job openings.