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 is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies