Pre-trip planning is the bread and butter of every truck driver’s day on the road. When caught up in delays and other unexpected interruptions, a small nuisance can quickly turn into a major headache if proper time isn’t invested in planning before the wheels start turning.
We’ve compiled six tips and tricks that can help you prevent hold-ups and be better prepared for the unavoidable ones before starting your trip:
1. Know Your Plan B, C, and D.
To avoid going over your available Hours of Service, choose to take a pause earlier in the best possible place, rather than later. Knowing where you want to take a break can help cut down on lost time spent searching around for a rest stop.
2. Anticipate Extra Stops
Find a reliable weather app that can provide insight into possible bad road conditions. This will give you more leeway in case you need extra clothes, supplies, and equipment with you on your ride, or if severe conditions like blizzards or flooded roads require you to make unexpected stops.
3. Fuel for the Future
Remember to plan for fuel stops on your pre-trip, especially in winter. Road closures can take a toll on your fuel gauge, and you never know when you might encounter one, so fill that tank!
4. Beat the Rush
If possible, avoid traffic in congested urban areas to maximize your Hours of Service. Outside of the big cities, rush hour can also build up in industrial areas when people are getting off work and tractor-trailers are flowing through, creating nasty bottlenecks. Check out your Maps app and plan as best you can.
5. Stock Up
Pack your lunch bag with extra food, water and dry snacks in case you find yourself stuck in a long delay. In colder weather and remote locations, it’s always important to have survival gear. This includes blankets, flashlights and batteries, insulated gloves, and spare clothing and footwear.
6. Prepare for Hidden Detours
GPS and navigation apps can be great assets for any motorist, but they’re not always 100% accurate. New construction and altered roadways can create difficult detours that don’t show up on Google. Always be aware of road signs and preferred exits to avoid running into big challenges on your path.