Every trucker likely knows full well just how invaluable GPS has become. The ability to map out an entire route and know - nearly down to the minute - when you'll arrive often saves pro drivers a lot of stress, and additional features such as traffic monitoring and information about rest areas or fueling stations can prove critical for getting the job done effectively.
However, there have been occasional stories about drivers being overly reliant on GPS devices, or having the wrong information displayed, which can put them in some difficult situations, according to CDL Life. For instance, in North Carolina, many truckers find themselves stuck on mountain roads because they followed their GPS devices and ignored posted road signs on Highway 9, which the GPS interprets as a potential shortcut to nearby Interstate 40.
The signs warn of length restrictions for tractor trailers - which are not to exceed 30 feet - but the roads show up as preferred routes on drivers' GPS machines nonetheless, the report said. The result is usually that trucks go off the road and need to be pulled out, backing up traffic for hours.
"There have been many many others over the years. Some trucks actually make it through without any problem," Broad River Fire & Rescue wrote in a Facebook post about the problem, according to CDL Life. "There's numerous possible solutions to preventing some of these. DOT fixing the warning and restriction signage is only a small part."
It's nothing new
This is a long-lingering problem for the trucking industry as a whole, according to The Truckers Report. In the past, these issues arose because GPS systems weren't advanced enough, but now it's more likely a result of an out-of-date system. That, in turn, leads drivers into situations with low weight limits, low clearances, or both
Companies that sell GPS devices or apps are always trying to update with the latest information, but it's not always possible to get the information exactly right at the time of release, the report said. Moreover, if truckers don't have GPS devices that are specifically for tractor trailers (even if it's just something they have to tweak in the setting), they're far more likely to be led astray.
Getting it right
When drivers are in the market for a new GPS device, it's important to know what features are best, according to ATBS. These include mapping specific to truck-friendly routes, live traffic updates and alerts for the route, information about the roads themselves (steep inclines, curves, narrow roads, places to stop, etc.) and even trip logging. Of course, every driver's needs are different, so it's vital to find an option that works well based on your specific needs.
In the meantime, drivers may need to be a little more cautious about how they use their current GPS platforms. It may be wise to check and then separately verify that every road they plan to take will be able to accommodate their vehicles.
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