As a trucker, every minute counts. When you're stuck in unexpected traffic for an hour, that's an hour that you could have spent navigating around the traffic and then getting ahead of it with a better route. When you're in detention for hours at a stretch, that's time you're not getting back when you try to hit the road again.
With all this in mind, time management is one of the most important skills truckers can have, develop and use over the course of a successful life on the road. Still need to get a better handle on some aspects of it? We have some suggestions to do just that:
1) Master your sleep schedule
Among the trickiest things truckers have to deal with as they pull off the nation's highways and byways for a bit of shut-eye is that it's not easy to develop a regular sleep schedule, according to RFX. For that reason, you really need to devote yourself to the effort. Try to get to sleep at roughly the same time every day, and invest in products like a white noise machine, blackout curtains, ear plugs and the like, that help you get to sleep and stay that way. Once you're into the swing of things, it becomes easier to keep a consistent schedule.
2) Shift your drive times
One of the biggest tips long-time truckers like to impart to newbies is that it's easiest to drive at night, according to TCI Capital. Driving during the day makes you far more likely to run into traffic and other headaches, but highways are mostly empty overnight. This may mean you have to sleep more during the day, but that kind of change can set you up to save a lot of time going from Point A to Point B.
3) Use the latest and greatest tech
When you are trying to plan a run, or you're already in the middle of it, things are going to change on the fly, TCI Capital advised. You may need to make unscheduled stops or run into unexpected traffic. Tech like a trucking-specific GPS system helps you avoid those problems, and if you're not using them already, now is the time to do so.
4) Plan routes more effectively
When you get a handle on how far you can travel in a given day, it becomes easier to plan your routes more tightly, according to the Advanced Career Institute. Once you can start hitting expected goals or deadlines consistently, you get into a real rhythm of being a more reliable driver.
5) Account for predictable traffic
Finally, there are certainly instances when you can expect traffic to be worse than the norm, the Advanced Career Institute said. This is true during rush hour, of course, but also when your route takes you off major highways and onto surface streets, or if you're going through or near a major city. That's time you must account for in your planning.
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