We can’t cover it all in one article so we’ll talk about one aspect of trip planning here.
Use Your Down Time Wisely
As a truck driver, you’re mandated to have a certain amount of rest – use this time wisely. Your mandatory 30 min break, when you’re state side, is a great time to grab a meal, a shower or a nap. By law, not only are you not to drive, you’re supposed to be off-duty. The point is, you should relax. We have a stressful job and this break will help you be more productive and safe.
Time these breaks in way where you don’t need to take two in a day. Depending on your day, this probably means at least 4 hours from when you started.
Look for opportunities to kill two birds with one stone. If your approaching a major city during either the morning or afternoon rush, and your 30 min break works at that time – take it then, and avoid getting caught in that traffic. Take an hour and grab a shower and a snack and avoid that rush. You’ll be making better use of your driving hours and you’ll be managing risk by not getting caught in rush hour traffic.
During your 8 or 10 hour off-duty/sleeper, SLEEP! Fatigue is a problem is this industry. Staying up late to play video games, watch tv, or being online can mess up your trip by making you late, or worse, fatigued. A big part of proper trip planning is maximizing the use of available hours, safely. You’re not making the most of your hours when you sleep in and you put people at risk by being fatigued.
Remember this job goes in cycles. We have really busy times when we’re under the gun. Other times we have short days where we are waiting on a load. These short days give you the opportunity to do your laundry, take showers, and keep the inside of the truck clean. Don’t stress yourself out for half a day when you’re waiting. Relax, rest, eat, shower, watch tv, go online, read a book, or whatever it is you do that isn’t trucking. These times are needed to get caught up. We’re more productive and safe when we’re well rested, caught up, and in control.