Truckers are seemingly always running on a tight schedule, and it's a constant challenge to balance the sheer amount of time it takes to get from Point A to Point B with their various deadlines.
For that reason, time management is a vital skill for any trucker, and the following tips should help you improve how you handle your days on the road:
1) Make the most of your time behind the wheel
You only have 11 hours to drive in a given day, so you have to make sure you get the most out of every one, according to Trucking Truth. That may mean keeping tabs on where you expect to be on your route for every hour of that day, and creating contingency plans if you hit traffic.
2) Drive with food already packed
Stopping for a meal is sometimes necessary, but if you're trying to get as many miles in as you can, it's quicker to eat in your cab, Trucking Truth added. Pack a few lunches and put them in your mini-fridge or cooler, and you'll be in a better position to keep running.
3) Plan your route effectively
There's a lot more to planning a good route than just accounting for traffic around heavily populated areas, according to United World Transportation. You would also be wise to look at things like weather forecasts and road construction that could affect your trip.
4) Utilize the latest and greatest tech
If you're not utilizing trucker-specific GPS devices, smartphones, laptops and more while you're on the road, you're putting yourself behind the 8-ball, United World Transportation said. These are important strategic investments not only for your convenience, but also to keep you entertained and engaged during your downtime.
5) Make sure your truck is properly maintained before you start your drive
You certainly don't want to be in a situation where your truck breaks down in the middle of a run, so proper maintenance is key, United World Transportation further advised. Sometimes these issues are unavoidable, but more often than not, a little work in the garage goes a long way to keeping you on the road.
6) Stay in touch
The more you can do to stay in contact with dispatch, your shipping partners and other stakeholders, the better off you'll be when it comes to overcoming any potential obstacles, according to Landstar Agent. It's a two-way street: They can advise you of what's going on at your destination, and you can do the same for the status of your trip.
7) Make the most of downtime
For truckers, time management is about more than just being able to drive as far as possible every day, Landstar Agent recommended. It also means getting all your paperwork done in a timely fashion, planning your next route and so on when you're not driving.
8) Expect the unexpected
Finally, it's important to remember that old saying about the best-laid plans of mice and men, Landstar Agent noted. Things will inevitably go wrong, and you should always strive to have backup plans — and backup plans for those backup plans! — you can pivot to and stay on track.
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