Planning each road trip ahead can highlight the difference between an experienced truck driver and one who is not. Operating from a set schedule with breaks for meals, refueling and rest are crucial to success. Planned trips also result in higher profits, and happier clients, while reducing the impact of stressful elements on drivers. Here are a few tips to help you elevate your professional driving career.
- Take a look at the total distance of the trip. This will allow you to consider all elements needed for planning, from refueling, to meals, to rest stops
- Check the weather. Download a weather app to your phone, and check it throughout the day to stay ahead of any changes. Account for heavy snow, sleet, fog and showers, and plan your trip around bad weather areas.
- Assess your location. It is crucial to understand if you will be traveling in regions that may present challenging driving conditions, impose a lower speed limit or may be desolate or without service. Always account for the extra time in your planning; it is better to allow more time than you think you’ll need. Other things to consider include border crossings and expected traffic delays within certain times of day or areas you know are prone to congestion.
- Track the essentials. Decide on your route and know where the essentials are located, such as repair or tire. Don’t get caught stranded should any surprises pop up.
- Plan fuel stops in advance. Fuel prices will fluctuate from one province or region to the next; some differences can be huge. Do your research into where you get the best deal when filling up.
- Meals and snacks. Plan dedicated stops along the way where you can sit down at a restaurant, take a suitable break from the driver’s seat, and grab a meal so that you can rejuvenate for the road ahead. It’s also a good idea to stock up on snacks to keep on hand during the day. Plan trips to stores with big parking lots able to accommodate your truck’s size.
- Emergency supplies. Stock your truck in advance of your trip with food and essentials in case of an emergency. If you were to break down, especially in a remote area, you will realize the importance of taking these necessary precautions.
- Allow extra time. Always allow yourself more time than you’ll need, and expect the unexpected. Arriving ahead of schedule looks great in the eyes of your clients. Staying ahead of time allows you to maintain proper speed without rushing, and to keep yourself safe while on the road.
- Use GPS or trip planning apps. Apps can be your best friend for making road trip planning easier. Use Google maps or GPS as a way to add multiple destinations and help foresee unexpected traffic issues that may help you shift your route in advance. Other apps, such as Truckers Trip Planning App, or Trucker Path, are designed specifically for truck drivers to help with effectively managing time. Do a little bit of research and you can likely find an app to assist in all aspects of your trip planning.
- Keep maps on hand. While apps can make your planning seamless, it is unwise to rely solely on technology. It can’t be overlooked that there may be areas where you lose reception while on the road. Keep some maps on hand for back up.
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