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Slipping and sliding in Michigan


I just returned from a couple days in Houghton, Michigan where I had the chance to drive some trucks on hard-packed snow and ice. Driving on snow and ice may not sound like a lot of fun to most of you – but this was a controlled environment and the worst I could do was stick it into a snow bank (which happened, by the way, but fortunately not while I was behind the wheel).
The purpose of the trip was to test first-hand Bendix’s ABS-6 with ESP (an electronic stability system).
I have some experience with electronic stability systems, but this was the first time I had the chance to drive ESP-equipped vehicles myself. Sliding sideways at 35 mph in a mixer truck is not an enjoyable feeling. However, with the ESP system activated, I was able to maintain control of the vehicle when pulling the exact same maneuver. Technology is a wonderful thing!
You have to admire the engineers who work on systems like this. Those involved in cold-weather testing spend weeks at a time working outside in remote regions where the temperature is well below freezing. The weather in Houghton certainly made Toronto feel balmy in comparison.
A full report about the experience will be in the April issues of Truck News and Truck West.


James Menzies

James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.
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2 Comments » for Slipping and sliding in Michigan
  1. Murray Bolger says:

    Iread your magazine every month. It is the only book or magazine i have ever read from front to back. I have been thinking seriously for some time now about changing careers. I’ve always been interested in becoming a long haul truck driver. Can a decent living be made as anO/O .Any help would be helpful.

  2. Ken says:

    Just a reply to the previous post. There are worse jobs for sure. Many people who go into it nowadays without the experiences of the past are quite happy. It means lots of missed family events and the same with functions with friends. There is not the same amount of comrodarie that there used to be although some still exists. It can be a lonely occupation for those who desire alot of interaction. It is stressfull on realationships. As far as the money goes $50,000 to $70,000 is pretty much a reasonable range estimate. IT IS NOT LIKE MAKING FIFTY TO SEVENTY AND GOING HOME EVERY NIGHT. Living on the road is expensive and especially if you are not careful with your money. The U.S. exchange rate has come down quite a bit but you still have to consider that even at an .85 or .86 dollar it will still cost you more than that to purchase American money. Even at these rates the difference significantly lowers your purhasing power. I have said elsewhere that as things are, in good consience, it is not really a career path I’d reccommend. As I have said elsewhere that money can make some people starry eyed but it is not what it appears when taxes and road expenses and incidentals are taken out of it. A few weekend layovers can teach you a hell of a lot about this industry and how you can or can’t fit into it. Of course by then you have already made your choice and probably spent a lot of money if you like to have fun (read if you enjoy adult beverages and the like). That’s my 30 year opinion for what it’s worth and we all know what they say about opinions.

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