Three Time Management Tips for Truckers
Good time management is an essential skill for any trucker. Your customers expect their deliveries in a timely fashion, and most truckers are paid by the mile; if you manage your time well, you can pack more miles into each day and maximize your earnings. Additionally, good time management ensures that you can spend more time at home with your family.
Heading out on the road without planning your trip properly can result in lengthy traffic delays, unplanned detours for road construction, unanticipated road tolls and wasted time as you search for a truck stop in unfamiliar territory. Before you leave on any road trip, research your route. Check for good resting spots and cheap fuel stops. Look for roadwork that might delay you, and investigate alternate routes that you can use to get around trouble spots. Make sure that all the roads you will drive on offer enough clearance for your truck. Route your deliveries to minimize delays when loading and unloading at each stop. Finally, prepare a tentative schedule for your route so that you can take enough rest to comply with trucking regulations.
You should also make sure that your truck is fully stocked with important necessities so that you can eliminate a few stops. Snacks and drinks are crucial for a long trip. Don't forget the batteries and chargers that you will need for your electronics, especially for your smartphone. In addition, make sure that all of your paperwork is in order; if you're pulled over for an inspection at a weigh station, you can save time by having your paperwork accessible, legible and current.
Knowing the current traffic situation along your route is critical to managing your time well. Choosing the wrong road can result in hours of standstill traffic. Fortunately, the traffic departments of many cities have made serious efforts to constantly update the public on current traffic and road conditions. Using a smartphone or a tablet is the best way to gain instant updates regarding the traffic around you. You can usually find special apps for targeted areas or you can simply use a general app that tracks traffic across the country.
If you don't have a smartphone or another way to access the Internet while on the road, you can always check the local radio stations for updates. Friends or family members can also be a useful resource to check on road conditions for you if the radio updates aren't helpful.
Manage Breaks and Stops
Every minute that you spend off the road adds up. If you're not careful, your stops and rest breaks can add up to hours of wasted time. Resist the urge to linger during your lunch and breaks, and combine stops whenever possible; the extra couple of minutes that you spend getting on and off of the freeway for each stop can balloon into a surprising amount of time. Instead of taking a separate lunch break, restroom break and fuel stop; take care of all of your business at a full-service truck stop. You can get lunch and use the restroom while your truck is filled up.
By taking proactive steps to improve efficiency and cut out wasted time, you can maximize your earnings and spend more time with your family.