There's a million things for you newbies to remember when starting out. It can overwhelming. It's important that you all take it slow and easy and be safe out there. These trucks are heavy, they get bad traction and they slide very easy.
I just made a Snow and Ice post for the new guys I work with on my forum. I think it's a good idea to transfer some of it over here also. The post is based on my experience in a truck (well over 20 years). Some of you who read this may have other ideas and thats ok. It would be nice if some of you experienced guys also offered your advice to rookies as well. Anything to make the roads safer out there, right?
The trick to this Snow and Ice driving is to never let yourself become over confident on it. Just because it feels like you have a good traction doesn't mean a mile or two down the road you will. I've seen a lot of truckers in a ditch or worse that thought just because they had put a lot of miles down snow/ice driving they had it all figured out. The more miles you drive on it the more confident you become, thats when you start increasing your speed. In a flash you can be out of control and heading for disaster.
Best thing to do is always act like it's your first time driving on it, the more nervous you are the more likely you'll take it slow and cautious. When that nervous feeling goes away lookout !
Drive fast on it, you'll slide fast on it. The slower you go the more time you'll have to correct a skid.
When you see that trailer coming around in your mirror the only thing that'll straighten you back out is letting off the brake and rolling forward. It helps to have the space in front of you to do it.
I can't stress enough the importance of giving plenty of following distance. The more space you have between you and the vehicles in front of you the more likely you can find an escape route and hopefully avoid a accident. This goes for any weather conditions.
Also if something inside you is saying get off the road, DO IT! To hell with what your dispatcher/Company is telling you. They aren't there to see the conditions and it's not their life or career in jeopardy. Don't be swayed, go with your gut feeling. With a good driving record you can always find another driving job. Have a accident and nobody will want to put you in a truck. If it's unsafe, it's unsafe, thats all there is to it. Find a safe place to park until the conditions improve.
And remember tire chains will help you get traction to get rolling but they'll do very little for helping you get stopped.
Be safe out there.
Gary M&H Logistics/Gary's Fleet Service