So, you booked a load with a shipper or freight broker and you need to plan your route. There are a couple of things to keep in mind before you start to turn your wheels. Let’s look at 11 tips to effectively plan a route for your trip!
Plan Your Route in Advance: Use GPS and navigation apps designed for trucks to plan your route ahead of time. A traditional map or road atlas is another great source. Avoid relying solely on consumer-grade GPS systems. A recommended GPS used by truckers on Amazon can be viewed here. Consider using multiple resources for driving directions to compare routes, scope out the pickup and delivery locations, and get a better idea of your routing options.
Check for Road Closures and Restrictions: Verify if there are any road closures, weight limits, or height restrictions along your route. This will help you avoid detours and delays.
Consider Traffic and Weather: Stay updated on real-time traffic and weather conditions to make necessary adjustments to your route. Apps like Waze and weather forecasts can be helpful. You can also visit the DOT’s website to view updated road conditions or dial 511 to receive the DOT road report. If you are traveling through metropolitan areas, find ways to avoid traffic by looking at alternative routes or low-traffic periods.
Optimize for Fuel Efficiency: Plan your route to minimize fuel consumption. This might include choosing routes with fewer hills or congested areas.
Avoid Residential Areas: When planning your route, try to avoid residential neighborhoods, especially during late hours, to minimize disturbances and potential safety concerns. Check for roads that prohibit use by commercial motor vehicles ("No Trucks Allowed").
Plan Your Breaks: Plan your rest breaks and stops at designated truck rest areas or truck stops. Have multiple options available in case your trip does not go as planned.
Double-Check Addresses: Verify the accuracy of the pickup and delivery address to avoid wasting time and fuel on wrong locations. Confirm truck entrance and exit.
Map Out Alternative Routes: Always have an alternative route in mind in case of unexpected road closures, accidents, or other delays.
Watch for Low Clearances: Be vigilant for low clearances, such as bridges and tunnels, especially if you are hauling an oversize load. Know your truck's height, load height, and choose routes accordingly.
Stay Informed: Subscribe to relevant traffic and road condition updates, as well as listen to trucker-specific radio channels to get real-time information from other drivers. Communicate with other truck drivers using a CB radio to get information about road conditions, traffic, and potential hazards.
Maintain Your Vehicle: Regularly inspect your truck and ensure it's in good working condition. This will reduce the likelihood of breakdowns during your journey.
Effective route planning is more than just typing an address into a GPS. It’s a crucial task that should be a part of your daily routine whether it’s a cross-country journey or a same-day delivery. Utilize these 11 tips to prepare for any obstacle thrown your way on your next trip!
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Soshaul Logistics LLC and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. It is meant to serve as a guide and information only and Soshaul Logistics, LLC does not assume responsibility for any omissions, errors, or ambiguity contained herein. Contents may not be relied upon as a substitute for the FMCSA's published regulations. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction or operation.