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Author Topic: Sideways on freezing rain!  (Read 4009 times)
lostagain
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« on: January 14, 2010, 01:13:00 AM »

Very scary, let me tell you! I just got home from taking the hockey team to a game in Kimberley, normally an hour and a half away. I'm having a Scotch to settle my nerves as I write this. Good drive there on mostly dry roads. Started raining just before the game. Above freezing weather the last 3-4 days, following 2 weeks of 20 below temps. Still raining lightly but steady after the game. The roads were fine, with a fair amount of gravel in town. So I settle into the drive home, put the Jakes on and my ear plugs in (they play their movies so G.D. loud!). Going on a gentle down hill out of town, all of a sudden the rear end lets loose, my blood curdles, it takes me a second or two to find the Jake switch to turn it off as I am counter steering, the front end starts sliding too, I'm thinking Oh F**k, here we go. What saved me was the rear wheels caught the gravel on the paved shoulder and straightened the bus up... Whew. By then I was shaking... I drove the rest of the way very slowly, looking for crumbs of gravel on either side of the lane... When I met the regular Greyhound, we both had our drivers lights on, gesturing at each other to slow down!

This brings into question wether I should continue to volunteer to drive this hockey team's bus. Most of the driving is in the winter, and at night. This kind of close call has happended before, and is likely to happen again. I don't want to be the one that puts the bus off the road. If I quit, a worst driver might drive it off the road sooner than I would, but maybe a better driver than me would anticipate the hazards (not use the Jakes in such conditions) and be safer for the team...

I'll go to bed now and sleep on it.

For everyone else, don't drive in such conditions if you don't have to, and use your Jakes very carefully. Same applies for Cruise Control.


JC
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JC
Invermere, BC
1977 MC5C, 6V92/HT740
Nellie Wilson
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2010, 02:24:17 AM »

JC -

Wow!

Did a few of those myself and don't even have Jakes to blame it on. But nobody else was aboard (thank God for no witnesses Smiley) Sure gets the old a heart a thumpin', don't it?

Seriously, though, you sound a very conscientious fellow. And I bet it never happens again. Even that Greyhound driver knew you were both on thin ice  (no pun intended).

If it makes you happy, continue on.  I mean, who's going to better anticipate than you? Especially after that near miss.

Got any of that scotch left? Save me some... we can sit around and swap lies about bus adventures. Smiley

Nellie Wilson

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Had to change a tire... Angry  got to put it on backward... Undecided  still trying to fix it on photoshop... Huh Roll Eyes Huh
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2010, 02:44:01 AM »

Lot of people find God at moments like that, huh !!

Glad you were able to get a handle on it, and protect your passengers. You are so right. I was taught to not use jake, or at best use lowest setting, and never use cruise, when the roads are slippery.

I can tell you that I found out quickly where the 5th wheel 'locking brake' switch was on my articulating as soon as I heard there was ice on the road, like on the Malahat, or Hwy 3 east (no banking).

Well done to control it - the mind sure does race, doesn't it !!

Keith
PCC
« Last Edit: January 14, 2010, 02:45:37 AM by PCC » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2010, 05:04:22 AM »

My first thought was, "Didja learn anything?"  Then as I read on, I realized you did.

There's a reason you're not supposed to have the Jakes on when on slippery roads. And yes, I know there will be a dozen posts to this thread telling you they run with the jakes on in all sorts of weather. Regardless, when you understand the dynamics of the engine braking on the drivetrain, there is a valid reason for this.

It sounds like you didn't know the roads were slippery until the rear end decided to tell you so. BTDT! 

Don't beat yourself up about this. You handled the problem. The thing you need to do, though, is analyze the event and determine if there was anything you should have done differently BEFORE it happened, and then apply that going forward.

Obviously, you were not completely aware of the conditions you were driving in, but I suspect you had more clues than you let on. So, possibly the Jakes should not have been on, and maybe your speed was a tad high for the road conditions. Be honest with yourself. It doesn't do you any good to be stubborn and bullheaded. Only you know if either is correct. And in all fairness, you could just have easily caused the slide by downshifting the transmission, which is not an uncommon thing to do when you want to slow down quickly.

As for your questioning your abilities and whether you are ready to turn over the reins, only you can answer that, but you are correct on both accounts. One person might have dumped the whole load of kids, while another might never have experienced the thrill you did... that time. Nobody can predict the outcome of similar circumstances in the future for either driver, but you know you can influence the outcome, which you are already doing in your mind.

Thanks for sharing. Not everyone would post this story and risk criticism of their driving. My response is not meant to be criticism, but rather to help you evaluate the situation and come to terms with it. What you learn may save many lives in the future, including your own.
 
craig


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Craig Shepard
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robertglines1
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2010, 05:34:47 AM »

Swapped end with a 100ton truck crane on black ice years ago...boy hell of a class room...could have done without it....no damage no one hurt......didn't take chance on ???road anymore..good job you didn't scuff paint or people!!!
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2010, 05:51:09 AM »

Don't beat yourself up about this. You handled the problem. The thing you need to do, though, is analyze the event and determine if there was anything you should have done differently BEFORE it happened, and then apply that going forward.

Craig said it extremely well.  As long as you do that, you will have learned something that some (if not many) potential replacement drivers might not have.  And I'm sure the experience gave you a renewed diligence for predetermining what risky driving conditions may exist based on weather conditions.

All that said, only you can know if it caused you to lose your nerve to the point driving them again will be too much stress on you and damage your health or create driving dangers of its own.
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bevans6
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2010, 06:46:07 AM »

I think what you just did is learn something.  that's what life is all about, isn't it?  I would say that you have every opportunity to look as this as a positive experience - you took the theory of  "Jakes on black ice = bad" and made it reality, and you did it in a way that your experience and skill made it a schooling experience with a positive outcome.  But there are a whole lot of lessons to be remembered.  maybe the noise level was too high, I did google a bit and found this:

"It is illegal for anyone operating a motor vehicle or a bicycle to wear a headset covering or earplugs in both ears. (California v.c. 27400)  People operating emergency vehicles, the hearing impaired, and certain construction and maintenance personnel are exempt."  I have no idea of what the laws are where you operate, but this is what California appears to think of the idea.

So maybe wearing earplugs while you are driving is a bad idea.  They sometimes have a tendency to desensitize other sensory inputs, kind of wrapping in cotton batting effect.  So you may have had less input from vision and feel to let you know the actual road conditions.  Just maybe, I don't know.  But the key thing I took away was a skilled driver, saving a situation before it became an incident, or an accident, and yeah, maybe I am right to keep MY Jakes off all the time, unless I decide I am on a hill that needs them, because I'm not sure I would have handled it that well.

So good job well done, and leave the Jakes off from now on.   Cheesy

Cheers, and btw you have my respect for keeping the "situation" just a situation...

Brian
« Last Edit: January 14, 2010, 06:49:52 AM by bevans6 » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2010, 06:53:27 AM »

  With Black Ice,  you usually have no warning, and it is a whole new ball game that starts and ends in seconds.     Good save JC.  Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2010, 06:55:47 AM »

Sounds like you had a MPF (maximum pucker factor) ride.  Congrats on making it through it.  Those can scare the snot out of you.  I agree that gumpy summed it up best.  You shouldn't beat yourself up.  Everyone walked away and there was no property damage.  I have driven semi trucks for many years out of the Great Lakes Reigon and can tell you that ice is never any fun to drive on.  Freezing drizzle/fog is worse because the " tell tale signs" are not there.  I always look for a glaze on the road or excessive tail light reflection to tell if it is icy.  You can watch your and other's wheels for spray.  But if it is raining this is not always accurate.  Ice accumulating on the leading edge of things like your mirrors, antennas etc.  will let you know that things are deteriorating.  

You learned an important thing about ice driving.  Keep the jake off and slow down.  It doesn't matter how long it takes to get where you are going as long as you get there in one piece.

Learn from this and move on if you desire.  The best thing you can do is to get back on the horse that throwed you, and ride again.  See what you could do differently and do that.  You will be ok.  
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Dennis Watson
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lostagain
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2010, 07:09:06 AM »

Thank you all for your kind replies. You are giving me the moral support I was looking for.

Yes I should've suspected freezing rain judging by the rain falling on frozen roadway. However, nothing else was indicative of slippery conditions: +3 to 4 C, no ice in town, I had taken a 10 mn walk to a restaurant before the game and only saw slush on the sidewalk.

I was driving about 60 km/h in a 80 zone (40mph in a 50), mostly because it was misty and foggy in the dark: low visibility.

I didn't downshift, I just took my foot off the accelerator with the Jakes on high when I started going downhill.

My mistake was: I just did the same as always out of habit, failing to recognize the hazardous conditions.

Jakes are OK on snow and ice when it is cold and there is traction. When it warms up, it is much more slippery... I know that. Except last night it looked like another routine drive home... But I got caught napping. Scary to think what if we  had gone off the road...

Yea, I guess I'll keep driving for them. I have acquired a little more experience last night and I'm a better driver. I have been driving a bus on and off for 36 years now, but I have to keep learning.

The Jake switch on the 102D3 is one of many that are all the same. You have to look to find it every time, and lean forward to reach it. I have been meaning to glue some kind of stick or something on it so I can find it without looking... It would've given me a second or so last night.

JC
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JC
Invermere, BC
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2010, 07:17:15 AM »

If your jake switch is a toggle type switch, check out a truck stop for switch extensions.  They slide over the end of the toggle switch and make them longer.  They are great when you are looking for a specific switch at night and you can't see it.
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Dennis Watson
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2010, 07:19:03 AM »

Don't they have some that are lit up when they are on?
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lostagain
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2010, 07:32:30 AM »

Bevans6, ever since we got this newer bus about 5 years ago with the video system, they watch movies most of the time, and they turn the volume way up, otherwise they can't hear it. So I wear ear plugs. I know it is not good, and probably illegal. It has bothered me the whole time. So what do I do? Tell them they can't watch movies anymore. Or we need a half million $ bus with audio plug-ins like an airplane, which we can't afford. I will put this to the board at the next meeting.

Trucktramp, thanks, I will look for one.

JC
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JC
Invermere, BC
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2010, 07:42:01 AM »

I don't know if it would help, but when I picked up my bus (an RTS transit bus) it had a plexiglass panel behind the driver seat that extended from the wall to the aisle side grab post and up to the ceiling.  I never quite understood its purpose, and took it out for the conversion anyway.  But that might be what it was about - deflect passenger noise from adversely effecting the driver.
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« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2010, 07:44:15 AM »

There are simple to install, aftermarket audio systems that "broadcast" the audio from the TV or sound system throughout the room/bus, and each person can listen on a headset.

We install them in homes and churches. Some are infrared, and some are RF, but they allow silent listening.

Or you can get them all hearing aids, ask them to turn the aids up, and the TV down. LOL

Headsets are great, because then they cannot hear you scream at the other drivers.
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For some, patience is a virtue.
Dealing with me, it is required.
Thank God - He is always patient.
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