A big part of every trucker's job is being where they need to be, often on a tight schedule. With that in mind, time management is a critical skill for any driver to master, and will serve them well for years to come once they master it.
The following tips should help avoid running up against deadlines on a more consistent basis:
1) Don't drink too many beverages
While it's extremely important to hydrate throughout the day, you need to make sure you're not overdoing it by drinking jumbo-sized beverages - especially those that come loaded with caffeine, according to Trucking Truth. Not only will this force drivers to stop more often to use the bathroom, but relying on caffeine that much increases your chances of "crashing" once the effects wear off and decreases sleep quality.
2) Have food with you
Another reason many truckers pull off the road is when they need to eat. While doing so is important, it can be a big time waster, Trucking Truth added. For that reason, having nutritious snacks in your truck will help you fight off those hunger pangs while also making sure you're eating right. This simple step may save you several hours on every trip.
3) Plan your trips around traffic
Getting stuck in traffic is an unavoidable part of any trucker's job, but you can certainly do more to minimize your exposure, according to Combined Express. Doing the bulk of your driving during off hours and planning to be napping, eating or loading and unloading during rush hours is always advisable, and as an added bonus, will help you avoid the frustration and wasted fuel that comes with sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
4) Don't push yourself to be early
While it's always great to be early for a deadline, don't feel like you need to push yourself to do so, Combined Express said. If you're driving without enough rest - even if you're otherwise adhering to rules around hours of operation - can put you in a tough spot, as drowsy driving can be quite dangerous. With that said, it's better to arrive well-rested, safe and on time than a few hours early.
5) Get the right amount of rest
To that point, it's critical for any trucker to listen to their bodies and get rest when they feel like they need it, according to Knight Transportation. While it can be tempting to try to wring an extra 50 miles out of a drive when you're drowsy, and having an energy drink or coffee to accomplish that goal, it's a risk that's not worth it in the end.
6) Stay in communication
You should always strive to be in regular communication with your dispatcher and the people who will take deliveries from you so everyone knows what to expect, Knight Transportation advised. They may also be able to advise you about potential issues with weather, road closures and so forth that have developed since you first left.
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