Trucking is stressful. We’re under constant time pressure from shippers and receivers. We have ticking HOS clocks. There are variables such as traffic and weather which affect how efficient we are and how we manage our day.
We can magnify or lessen some of those challenges. One thing we can do is take control of our time. Proper time management will eliminate a lot of problems and stress.
Proper Trip Planning
Knowing how you’re going to get to where you’re going allows you to know at all times if you’re on schedule. Trip planning also includes having an idea of when and where you’re going to fuel, park, etc. The sooner you know you’ve fallen behind schedule the better. Appointments can be rescheduled and maybe you don’t miss out on a reload if you can alert dispatch early enough.
Starting your day early and ending it early makes it easier to find parking. We’re killing our HOS when we’re hopping from full truck stop to full truck stop fighting for parking. Proper planning makes better use of your HOS.
Avoid Busy Rush Hour
It’s not always possible to avoid the busy morning or afternoon rush around major cities but you should do it when you can. You can either hit these cities at a time where traffic is moving or find a route which avoids some major cities. Always check with your dispatch if you’re thinking of rerouting. Your available HOS is better spent moving than sitting in deadlock.
Load & Unload as Early as Possible
Veteran truck drivers get to where they’re going as soon as possible. Shipper/receivers generally like earlier than expected service. Your dispatchers love it too. Plus, you end up making more money faster.
Proper Daily Pre-Trips and Post-Trips
Finding malfunctions early is faster and cheaper than a break-down on the side of the road. It’s better for everyone to schedule your truck into a shop than being towed into one. Proper maintenance will significantly reduce your chance of breakdown. Having well-maintained equipment makes life so much better.
Fatigue is a major cause of traffic accidents. Proper rest is definitely a safety issue. There are more subtle benefits to proper rest.
You’ll make better decisions and be a lot sharper. Better decision making means fewer mistakes. Mistakes in this industry are costly and time-consuming. Plus, fatigue is physically and emotionally harmful. From a quality of life standpoint alone we all should get proper rest.