In many ways, trucking is a very independent job. You need to be able to communicate effectively with your dispatcher and are responsible for being on time for your appointments, but you are ultimately in charge of most day-to-day decisions. There’s no boss looking over your shoulder when you’re on the open road. This also means you are responsible for managing your time effectively. If you do this well, you can increase your earning potential and reduce your stress.
Here are some time management tips for truckers:
1. Plan Around Hours Of Service
While truckers do have the freedom to plan their days, they must follow federal regulations that help ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Hours of service limits are an example. The maximum driving time in a day is 11 hours, and you can spend a maximum of 14 hours on duty. There are other regulations you need to know and follow for breaks and weekly driving time.
No matter what other choices you make for time management, you’ll need to make sure you follow these rules. Trip planning allows you to get an idea of how you can spread out your driving hours to stay compliant.
2. Understand Parking Challenges
Parking is a key consideration for planning your days as a trucker, and this also relates to hours of service regulations. If you get to a truck stop and it doesn’t have enough parking, you’ll need to have enough driving time to find a new location.
In addition to affecting your overall trip plan, parking also relates to time management because truck stops are typically busier during the evenings as more drivers stop for the night. If you plan to stop around the busiest times, you’ll need to allow more time for finding a spot, which can reduce the number of miles you’re able to drive.
3. Avoid Traffic
Heavy traffic is annoying for anyone, for truckers, it can be especially frustrating. Sometimes, there’s not much you can do to avoid it, but managing your time on the road can help you minimize traffic to some extent. Know ahead of time when rush hour tends to be at its worst in the areas you’re driving through, and consider taking breaks around these times so you don’t spend valuable driving time stuck in traffic.
4. Consider Your Personal Preferences
People naturally feel more productive and focused at different times of the day. It’s beneficial for your safety and for time management if you are able to schedule more driving time during your preferred hours. For example, if you’re a morning person, you may get up earlier to hit the road. On the other hand, if you are able to focus at night, you can avoid high-traffic hours and drive later in the day – just be sure you can do so safely! You likely won’t always be able to drive at your favorite times depending on your delivery schedule, but you can often choose to do so more often than not.
Hit The Road With DSW
DSW is currently hiring over-the-road (OTR) and regional truckers. We know our drivers by name, not by truck number, and we offer competitive pay and miles.