Delivering freight efficiently is an essential skill for any truck driver. This is important not only for your motor carrier and the customer you are delivering to, but also for you because it allows you to get more miles and earn more pay. One of your keys to success is trucking trip planning. Preparing before you hit the road can help you stay on track and avoid any issues.
Why Trip Planning Matters
There are several benefits to taking the time to plan your routes as a trucker.
- By planning your driving time, you can make sure you are always in line with hours of service (HOS) regulations. This can help you avoid fines, disciplinary action, and stress.
- Choosing truck stops along your route and having back-ups in place can make it easier to park and sleep for the night while staying compliant.
- Planning ahead helps you stay healthy because you will have an idea of where you can stop for food and when you can exercise.
- If an unexpected situation occurs on the road, a truck driver with a strong trip plan can more easily adapt and adjust to stay on track.
- When you consistently meet and exceed expectations, you build a reputation as someone who can be counted on.
Tips for Effective Trucking Trip Planning
As with any skill, the more you practice trip planning, the better you will get at it. If you are a new trucker, don’t get discouraged by comparing yourself to those who have been driving for a long time. Keep working and you will find your own way of efficiently organizing your route sooner than you may think.
Some tips for when you are getting started include:
Invest in a Road Atlas
Our trucks are equipped with Qualcomm satellite systems and these can give you the basic directions to and from your destination. That being said, a road atlas for truckers will give you valuable information about truck stops, road restrictions, and other information that is essential for trip planning. There are phone applications that serve similar purposes, but many old-school truckers swear by the classic, physical atlas. This is also important in case you need to find information in an area where you do not have internet access.
Have a Back-up Plan
In any career and in life in general, things rarely go exactly as planned. The best over-the-road truckers know this and expect the unexpected. When you plan your route, always have a back-up plan (or even more than one) for your stops, especially when it comes to where you are going to sleep. Depending on when you arrive, the truck stop you originally planned to stay at might not have any parking, and you will need to find an alternative. You don’t want this to happen when you’re already out of driving hours for the day, so plan ahead.
Ask for Help If You Need It
Your fellow truck drivers can be an excellent resource when you are getting started. If you are having trouble getting the hang of trucking trip planning, ask for advice. Trucker friends, co-workers, or members on online forums may be able to give you tips that you can use to be more successful.
We Support Our Truckers
As a driver for DSW, you will benefit from the support of our team. Our management is made up of former truckers and we understand what life on the road is like. We work as hard for you as you do for us.