Are you new to the trucking industry? Whether you’re embarking on a trucking career or doing a one-time trip, here are some things to keep in mind before hitting the road.
1. Check the Weather
The longer the trip, the more likely you are to drive through different – and potentially extreme – weather conditions. Before heading out on the road, check the weather along the route to get a sense of what the weather patterns will be throughout your journey. And if you encounter rain, heavy winds, snow or black ice, slow down or take a break!
2. Bring the Essentials
You’ll never know what you’ll need on the road, so make sure that you have the essentials ready and waiting. This includes jumper cables, a flashlight, a multi-tool knife, a fire extinguisher, rescue tool, spare tires, emergency signaling device, a blanket, a spare set of clothes, and extra food and water.
3. Map It Out
When planning a trip, map out the total distance and set a realistic goal for your daily destination stops. When developing a loose timeline, try to factor in general traffic volume, expected weather, terrain and border crossings. Don’t forget to note where fuel prices are lowest on your route!
4. Hire TPC
Save time, money and sanity by working with The Permit Company. For over 50 years, we’ve been saving people time, money and sanity with our fast, easy and affordable permit services. From simple fuel and trip permits to complex superloads, we’ll take care of your permits so that you don’t have to. Give us a call at (877) 927-2115, or request a permit online to find out what we can do for you.
5. Make Friends
Get to know your dispatcher and make an extra effort to cultivate a friendly working relationship. A good relationship with a dispatcher can mean more loads, more miles and bigger paychecks.
6. Take Care of Yourself
Sitting in the same position for hours on end can take an enormous toll on your body, so it’s important to move around and get some exercise whenever you have the opportunity. Start by committing to walking around a bit and stretching at truck or fuel stops – even if you’re tired. Consider investing in a seat pad that offers extra support, and be sure to empty your pockets before driving so that you’re not sitting on your wallet, keys or phone.
7. Keep Records
Whether you’re using an old-fashioned pen and paper or an electronic system or app, make an effort to keep your records in order. Track expenses, including fuel and maintenance slips, and have the necessary permits (we can help with that) and DOT documents on hand.
8. Use Technology
If you haven’t jumped on the technology bandwagon, now’s the time to start. Your smartphone or tablet provides access to apps that make long-distance travel so much easier, including:
- GPS/navigating apps that factor in traffic and other route data
- Listening apps that provide hours of entertainment, from curated music playlists to podcasts and audiobooks
- Weather apps that show satellite data from around the country (and world!)
- A networking app that provides information (and reviews) on nearby restaurants, stores, gas stations, repair or tire shops, etc.
9. Watch Out for Other Drivers
Many truckers will tell you that the greatest obstacle on the road isn’t weather conditions – it’s other drivers. Stay alert and practice defensive driving.
10. Better Safe than Sorry
Even if you’re on a tight schedule, take your time. Better to arrive late than to arrive with damaged cargo (or worse). For example, if you’re backing up, always get out and look first to make sure you’re clear.