Winter Driving Tips
Inside the Triangle episode 22: Darin, Rick and Tyson
In additiona to Rick and Tyson’s podcast episode, you can also check out Matt’s episode on Winter Weather.
00:05: Inside the triangle, the Decker Truck Line podcast.
“Welcome to Inside the Triangle with your host, Darin Ladle. And today, I have a couple of guests, Tyson with maintenance support and Rick George with the safety department. We’re gonna start off with Rick, ’cause Rick’s never been here before. So, Rick is a first-timer with us, so Rick… Exactly. What is your job title here?”
Rick: “I’m the Vice President of safety, so I run the safety department. All that simple and easy. And you have been in the industry. How long? Since I was a teenager.”
Darin: “A teenager. So that’s what, 10 years ag?”
Rick: “Thank you. You’re like me, you grew up in this business pretty much, so
Rick: “I did… My dad was a truck driver. My first job in high school was washing trucks and changing oil and scooping up ball racks, and you also drove for quite a while… I drove for five years…”
Darin: “Okay. And the bulk of year before you came here, we’re not afraid to say you were in the safety department or tanker company, which is quite a difference from what we do, right?”
Rick: “It was, I was in a fleet of tank trucks that haul refined petroleum crude in all that type of thing. And you were down in the Des Moines area, I believe. And you wanted to come back up. The family up here is that when I was with him, I was with him 25 years, I was in Des Moines, Omaha, Roosevelt, Utah, and
01:32: From OSU to… Moved back to Iowa,”
Darin: “Didn’t like Utah?”
Rick: “It’s a beautiful place. I would love to go there. On vacation, I’m not sure. I don’t wanna live there again.”
Darin: “Okay, alright. And so you’ve been with Decker now for how long? Almost three years, almost three years. So Rick wanted to talk today about winter safety and some of the issues we’re having. And so I’m just gonna hand the floor over to Rick, kinda give us a… I’ll look at what you wanted to talk about today.”
Rick: “Well, I wanted to talk about some of the hazards that occur in the winter time are from a personal perspective, their slips, trips and falls, you’d be surprised how injured someone can be just by following down on one ice surface and when the drivers get in and out of their trucks, there’s a myriad of opportunities to slip and fall, so they need to use three points of contact when they get in and out, they need to choose good footwear. The worst thing you can wear as a slick smooth leather soles you…
Darin: “So basically just say cowboy boots.”
Rick: “I was trying to avoid that, but a lot of cowboy boots have six souls, but you can also buy cowboy boots that have a grip soul, so from the style issue, it doesn’t matter, it’s what’s on the bottom, and there’s also traction devices. I know, I have some yak tracks that I wear when it’s really slick, they just take a second to put it on and they come off just as easy, and they provide a lot of traction, a lot of grip when you’re on an ice surface, you wanna be careful when you go into a facility like a truck stop or a c store that’s got a tile floor ’cause they’re really slept on a table.”
03:05: Then it’s just like be a… No, yes.
Darin: “Yes it is.”
03:08: Okay, what about getting it out of the truck with those and is there anything they need to be aware of on that… Would that catch on the door step, do you think… Or anything like that?
Rick: “They could catch… One of the things that you need to be where I wanna get in on the track, not only three points contact, but what you’re gonna step down on to… We have a lot of times, guys will step down onto the ground and a slicker than they thought, and their feet will go right out from angry, wanna look before you step, so to speak, be conscious about what your surroundings are, what you’re walking on it. I see a big guest to win can come along and knock you off balance and cause you to grab, hold your trailer or a tractor or whatever is nearby, and hurt your arm, hurt your shoulder, there’s lots of ways to get injured in a slip and fall
03:52: In a lot in the winter time, even when they’re working around the referee and its dollies, if you’ve got pros and dollies or frogs and breaks or anything along that line, you can rent your arms, your hands or anything like that, so you wanna be extra careful around that stuff, absolutely. Now, what about winter? Warm, we want… Our drivers would be prepared for the winter weather that’s about to come, make sure you have the proper gear.
04:13: They need to have… They need to have proper gear, and it’s always good to… When you’re in the truck, have maybe some water with you, some non-perishable snacks, so maybe some dried fruit, my favorite chocolate, something like that, to eat while you’re… If you happen to get tied up in a snow storm or something like that, you have an extra blanket, you wanna be sure and have close to keep warm in the winter. Hat boots, gloves, insulated coat. Maybe some insulated coveralls, something like that.”
Darin: “What about driving safety? What do we really wanna look for in the winter time?”
Rick: “Well, black ice is always, always treacherous, they wanna be conscious of are the vehicles around and throwing up some moisture off the road, as soon as that stopped, that means the roads turned icy and you wanna be very, very careful. Black, I will get you every time.”
Darin: “What about the other type conditions, snow on the road, is there anything you wanna be cautious of on that, is there any warnings you can see ahead of time on that…”
Rick: “Well, if I can’t, if they can’t see down the road, if they can’t see farther than the speed that they’re traveling, they need to slow down, increase their following distance, they don’t feel safety, they really need to stop and wait out the weather. You won’t stay that way forever. It may seem like it, but it won’t… Well.
05:34 I’ve always believed truck drivers need to be like Weathermen, you always have to look a day or two ahead of you to what you’re going into… Or if you’re at home, alright, what’s coming? Do I need to leave early? If I’m out on the road, do I wanna… How much do I wanna push this so that I could stay ahead of this weather, any issues you have with that…”
Darin: “Well, yeah, just as you said, they need to be aware of what they’re heading into, one of the nice things about our new geo-tab units as they’ll be giving weather alerts, they’ll tell you what kind of weather you’re heading into in the next couple of hours.”
Rick: “So I think that’s a big benefit to the geo-tab units. Any issues with cargo that you know of during the winter time that we’ve been… We see predominantly more, maybe the winter may be frozen products, anything like that.
06:17 The perishable products, they need to need to have the refrain so that that stuff doesn’t get too cold, of course, the child frozen, that’s really not an issue in the cold mother.”
Darin: “Now, flat bed though. That’s a different worry. I unfortunately had a good friend of ours, he retired, but lost a few fingers because of frostbite, I was up in North Dakota, any advice you can give us on being careful on the flat bed sit, ’cause you’re dealing with heavy tarps is snow. Their ice up, their slicker. Heck, you’re trying to pick them up. You’re outside working, this is not an indoor job when it comes to flatten…”
Rick: “No, that’s right. And they need to have proper gears, as you said, To keep wormhole they’re working, they’ll generate a little heat while they’re working, but still they need to have good gloves to where they need to be conscious of, if their fingers start tangle, they need to find some place to warm up, anything else you’d like to add to the safety aspect… Just prepared for the weather. Don’t follow too close. Don’t drive too fast. Good advice, good advice.”
Darin: “So the other one we have here is Tyson. And Tyson wants to talk to us a little bit about having your truck and trailers and everything prepared for winter, so… Tyson, what did you wanna talk about?”
Tyson: “Well, there’s a lot of things we can do out on the road, you do want a drivers picking up a trader that’s dropped at a customer’s location, making sure that the breaks aren’t frozen. I had a guy that was here a week or so, I go down a Ankeny, up a trailer and got out on the highway and somebody flagged him down that he had a couple of tires I wanna turn in, coming to find out he had frozen breaks and ruined a couple of tires, just putting stuff on top of the tires to make sure pull four, five, six feet, make sure the tires are rolling, you don’t mark them with something, use a piece of chalk. Marker, I always told driver, just put a Mottola on each set of tires. Roll forward five, six feet, and then then you can find out which ones aren’t moving. We recently went through and done some things about rubbing alcohol, we got a video out on that, I’m not sure where that is, or when it’s coming out, but…
08:21 Darin: Rubbing alcohol is huge. It can help you out there. Frozen locks, frozen ice on the mirrors for an upfront radar on the front bumper, just… It’s cheap, and you can have not a square bottle and you use it to all your breaks. I just bought everything. What about field treatments? What are we recommended for field treatment this time of the year, so the fuel is treated at all of our terminals that have fuel, when you get out away from our terminals, you might not get treated… Fell out on the road. So they do, in the safety plan here and other terminals provide core bottles of Nigel, and I think they’re giving out four or six bottles per driver, you know what you gotta think ahead about in the winter, what the weather’s gonna do, you can’t treat your fuel in Missouri, when you come in, in Iowa, you gotta have it treated when you’re leaving Texas and coming up this way to get it through the whole system, to de-wax everything that… Oh, I can put it in today and I’ll be good tomorrow. Probably not gonna happen. Okay, frozen airlines, if we run into that too much, is it another we can use with the rubbing alcohol or do we use airline and press under my direction or my staff member is when the driver calls in on…
09:35 Darin: We need to do with that, we can do some other things without using that product in there, worst case scenario, I’ll just give us a call and we’ll talk it over and see if we can remedy without it. Okay, any other suggestions you can give us for along that line and winter driving back into a reef, you’re gonna go allow that’s heated or Jill, just make sure you start that refer unit when it’s really, really cold, those don’t return as much fuel as a truck does, so the ref is gonna need to manage as well, a lot of times we’ll have them switch a money continuous run if it’s gonna be really cold, ’cause you gotta remember that fuel tank is hanging down underneath there, getting all that winter weather off the road, taking it up with snow, and it kind of insulates it and it doesn’t get very warm, so if we’re putting an IL in the truck tanks, we… To start putting it in the refer tanks as well. And also, I use some snow build up on the truck, I really think that when you’re getting out, you’re fueling your check and knock some of that ice and snow off because I’ve seen their calls where we drop a trunk of ice and it breaks up and hit somebody else, and then we were buying a windshield in her car or something like that, it’s just not safe.
10:45 Darin: I know out east they were doing… Oh, they have a problem with the snow up on top of the trailers, and it was a big hunk were coming off, and now they got some special areas, I think where you drive underneath and it just kind of peels all the snow off of the trailer, so you gotta be aware of that stuff and help yourselves, and in the past, we run it through a truck wash to get that snow off the top, ’cause try to find somebody with a ladder to go up there on a snowy roof at slick aluminum. I wouldn’t do it
11:10 : And that it’s way to your truck too, so if you’re close on weight, you could get an overweight…
11:14 Darin: Exactly. And then also, I don’t know if he’s still doing, but I used to… In the winter time when I parked, and Rick is probably gonna yell at me for this, but I very seldom ever set my tractor breaks, I would send the trailer breaks because it’s just… I don’t know, it was just a thing because the trailer breaks, easy to break free, then the tractor breaks were… I don’t know if that’s something we recommend or not, but you can edit that if we need to or…
11:44 Rick: When I was driving, I did the same thing.
11:46 Darin: Alright, just guys, you gotta be safe out there, you gotta know what’s going on, you gotta be aware of your situation, like Tyson said, If you’re coming out of Texas and it’s 70 degrees in Texas, but it’s gonna be minus 10 up here, you gotta be prepared and what’s a toll bill cost if you gotta be looking… Minimum, most 6-7, 800 bucks for a toll bill. Well, you remember, some states are split to… So if I have to tell a truck and trailer in one of those areas, now you’re paying for two toes.
12:13 Rick: So on average, you’re talking 12, 13, 00 bucks just to move that piece to be client off the road to
12:19 Darin: A dealer, wherever to get it. Fuel gell out or un-gelled and then put new filters on it and get it back up and running, and now we run… I know the old days we… To run tank heaters, and you have to get out and turn them on, and then when Detroit came out and those back in the 90s and 2000s, they turned enough, he didn’t need tank heaters now, or we run in tank heaters again. I’m not sure on the trucks, if we’re renting years, I know some of the trucks do like the dedicated ones up on the Mars, they do. I’m not sure about any other new equipment coming in, I haven’t… I haven’t checked the model… Got with malicious. Okay, ’cause I know the APU unit doesn’t add also, when heaps, Rudin is running, is charging your battery, but it’s also running a little bit of hot water through the engine to keep it warm a little bit… Yup, it’ll maintain battered voltage, it maintains quintet. So when kunti in a truck drops below a certain threshold, all kick on and start running to heat that coming back up in the system. Alright, awesome.
13:17 Darin: Awesome guys, we’re coming into dangerous times, Wyoming, how many times are they shut down the interstates out there, you gotta make sure when you’re going there, I think you gotta be… Have fuel, ’cause if you get stuck on the side of the road and they shut the interstate down, the last thing you wanna do is run out of fuel, so always be aware of that situation, so take care of yourselves. Extra blankets. Whatever you gotta do. Make sure you’re prepared. Any last words, guys? Thanks, spring. Thanks, spring. Winter weather, an 20-21. Let’s get 20-200 over with. Alright guys, thank you very much. And remember, drive safe and keep the shiny side up. Alright, thanks. Alright guys, before we get into the drivers of the month and the score card bonus, I do have some news, we do have on board a dot officer that is willing to come on and chat with us and answer some questions, So what I’d really like for you guys, to do is please all my listeners email it to me, call me, call Katie, whoever it is, even your DM, it doesn’t matter, they can relay the question to me, Give us some questions on what you would like a dot officer to explain to you.
14:34 Darin: Any rules, regulations, things you’re not sure on, let’s give them some questions that would make him work, so turn those into us, You can do it online, or you can just call us. Alright, thanks guys