For professional truck drivers in particular, timing is everything. With more rules about hours of service and tighter tracking standards now in place, drivers have to make sure they're getting as much as they possibly can out of every hour they're on duty.
The following tips could help truckers of all stripes better manage their time and maximize efficiency:
1) Plan your routes carefully
When you have to get from Point A to Point B, it's always a good idea to do a little homework - even if it's a route you've taken many times before, according to the Advanced Career Institute. If you can do more to find the fastest possible route, especially if you can find out about any ongoing road work that is slowing traffic or causing detours, the better off you will be to get to destinations ahead of schedule.
2) Schedule your rest periods
While it can be tempting to simply drive until you're tired or hungry and have to pull over, it's wiser to have an idea before the start of a trip about when you want to get off the road, the Advanced Career Institute noted. This will help you stay on task and avoid any issues where you need to pull over and there's nowhere around to do so safely or easily.
3) Call it a night earlier - or later
There are two schools of thought on when truckers should pull over for a good night's sleep, according to Trucking Truth. Some say it's a good idea to do so as early as you can, so you wake up with the sun (or even before it) and get a few hours of good driving in before the morning rush hour. Others prefer to go to sleep later, because traffic thins out considerably at night, especially after 10. You might want to try experimenting to find what works for your body and your schedule.
4) Always strive to be early
When you're putting together a travel plan for any given run, it's important to make sure you're planning to arrive at your destination at least a few hours earlier than is required, Trucking Truth advised. This will help give you a bit of a cushion if you run into unexpected traffic (which is outside your control but still can count against you). But if you don't need that extra time, you're just arriving ahead of schedule, which keeps customers happy.
5) Make checklists for everything
Finally, when you're putting your schedule together, you would also be wise to make sure you have a physical list of everything you need - and need to know, according to CDL Jobs. Writing or typing something out makes it far more difficult for you to accidentally forget something you needed or were supposed to do, and gives you a document to refer to so you can stay on task.
6) Don't always rely on your GPS
When you're driving the nation's highways and byways, unexpected issues are inevitable, CDL Jobs added. In these cases, you might be able to use your GPS device to use an alternate route, but it's a good idea to check that its suggestions don't run you into a low-clearance overpass or a bridge that can't handle your vehicle's weight.
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