There’s a sense of peace that comes from driving. You may not always experience it, but when you do, it’s palpable. Perhaps it’s the vast expanse of open road around you. Or maybe it’s the warm feeling you get when you realize your landscape consists of rolling hills and not the fluorescent glow of a computer monitor. In any case, you became a truck driver for a reason – you enjoy it. The trick is now adopting effective time management skills on the road to keep your runs safe and efficient.
Budgeting on the Road
Learning to budget your time and money while on the road can go a long way to ensuring a smooth run. Meals can easily become one of the most expensive aspects of life as a trucker. The occasional stop at fast food chains and diners may not seem expensive, but opening your wallet to them three times a day quickly adds up. Save your cash by keeping a small cooler well-stocked. When your food supply runs low, skip the $8.00 combo meal and opt for a quick stop at a convenient grocery store (many have tractor trailer parking). This will save you more than just pennies – less time spent in the booth means more time behind the wheel.
Take advantage of your truck stops. Many are equipped with maintenance facilities – use them! Keeping your truck well-maintained (and doing it while you’re already stopped) will cut down on preventable issues and keep you on track. You’re not just operating a vehicle; this is your business, after all.
Know Your Border Crossings
Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations concerning border crossings. Knowing them ahead of time will help you avoid any snags – and major customs headaches – along the way. The last thing you want to do is miss a delivery because you made a simple mistake. Check out the Department of Homeland Security’s Guidelines for Compliance of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) and CMV Drivers Engaged in Cross-Border Traffic for more information.
Be Kind to Your Dispatcher
This should go without saying, but it’s important to keep an open line of communication (no pun intended) with dispatch. Addressing small issues immediately will prevent them from turning into larger problems later. Besides, if you want to increase your miles, earn more money, and have a smooth working environment, you won’t bite the hand that feeds you the good routes.
Catch Some Z’s
Getting plenty of rest and avoiding exhaustion is key – not only to a successful run, but also to staying safe on the road. Don’t push yourself when you’re tired. An exhausted driver is a dangerous threat to everyone. If you sleep when you start to feel tired, rather than wait until you’re exhausted, your body will recover faster. Pushing yourself to exhaustion will only result in more time needed to recuperate.
These are just a few simple tips to boost your time management skills while on the road. Over time you’ll find different ways that work for you. Until then, stay safe and get some sleep.