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Friday, October 16, 2009

Winter Trucking In The Mountains of Colorado

Shirts for the Big and Tall man at Westport

Since I am an active trucker in the Colorado Rocky Mountain Region I think I'll try to cover a topic that is as important to me as as air is to breathing.

Western Wear at Sheplers

Being prepared for winter driving in the mountainous ares of Colorado can be the difference between life and death. You must keep in mind the various hazards that you will face in these areas that you will never even think about while driving in less mountainous terrain.

Temperatures can change dramatically in just a few miles worth of driving. Be sure to carry an extra fuel filter and a couple bottles of power service in case your fuel starts to gel up.

You will have to deal with many different steep grades that are drastically different from one side of a mountain pass to the other. In many cases the rule that says you should use the same gear or one higher than the one you used to climb one side for going down the other side may not be a good idea, as most passes in Colorado are steeper on one side than the other. The real problem here is that if you are not familiar with the road you could get into trouble following this rule of thumb.

Always carry enough chains to cover at least four drive tires and at least one trailer tire. The one for the trailer tire is for drag on steep passes (8% grade) such as rabbit ears. This will help to keep your trailer straight and keep it from wandering sideways causing a jacknife situation.

Be sure you carry a survival pack that includes extra food, water,clothing, blankets, and some form of generic heat source such as canned heat and safety matches if you are not hauling flammables or explosives. This could not only help you, but it could help save others when stranded in extreme situations such as blizzards or an avalanche.

Cold weather safety is really just good common sense. Carry flashlights with extra batteries, a first aid kit with a pocket knife, any vital medications, and a brightly colored piece of cloth to use as a flag. Carry sand or kitty litter for generating traction under wheels and keep a small shovel, tools and booster cables. When travelling to cold climates and throughout the winter months you should take care to research the climate to which you are travelling, pack correctly for cold weather, learn basic snow safety and pack an emergency kit to keep with you at all times.

Snow and ice make many surfaces slippery, so always wear footwear with traction. Wind is especially dangerous, because it removes the layer of heated air from around the body. When winter temperatures drop significantly, staying warm and safe can become a challenge. Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can cause serious or life threatening health problems.

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