Whether you’re a veteran truck driver or on your very first haul, one of the top things on your mind is probably how to maximize time on the road. With changes in regulations that limit the number of hours you can drive, the more efficient you are with your mileage, the more money you make. Today, we want to look at some time management and mileage tips to help get the most out of your run.
A person who has been awake for 24 hours has the same cognitive abilities as a person who is legally drunk. While a driver can be behind the wheel for a total of 70 hours over the course of 8 working days, this is still a significant wear on your body. To properly plan your route, be sure to schedule rest time. It’s simple, but also the most important thing you can do to maximize your time. Plan rest breaks during and at the end of your shift.
Speaking of planning, there is quite a bit of prep work you can do to optimize your haul. If you’re planning a trip from Lima to Kenosha, Wisconsin, you’re going to have to drive through Chicago. So when is the optimal time to hit Chicago traffic? It definitely isn’t 7:30am. Map out when you’re likely to be driving through congested cities, and try to avoid traffic.
Even before you head out, you may find your plans in disarray if you aren’t able to get optimal loading times. If you’ve determined that you need to leave by 2:30am and can’t get loaded up until 6am, this could put you smack in the middle of heavy traffic. Part of your planning should be to work with the dockmaster on when you can get loaded. Being nice and developing a working relationship with these individuals can go a long way.
Lastly, on a multi-day run, you’re going to want to plan out where you’ll sleep. Some truck rest areas can fill up quickly, and you may find yourself unable to park where you wanted. To make this scenario a little more real, let’s say you’re already tired from a long run and arrive at the truck stop ready to get some shut eye. When you pull in, it’s already at capacity. Now you have to get back on the interstate and try and find the next open truck stop. The time you’re spending driving from truck stop to truck stop is not only a safety concern if you’re exhausted, it’s working against your goal of being efficient.
As a bonus tip on parking, consider when you want to arrive at your intended truck stop. If your chosen stop tends to fill up by 6:00pm, plan to arrive by 5:00pm so you can pick your spot for an easier departure the next morning.
One final thing to consider is downtime you may experience if your rig breaks down on a run. The best designed route can quickly fall apart if you experience unexpected mechanical problems. Be proactive with your maintenance to make sure that when your haul begins, you’ve done everything on your part to ensure you stay on the road.
Veteran drivers can often help brand new ones through mentoring. That’s one of the advantages of being part of the Roeder Cartage family. From safety to support, we’re here to help you succeed! Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about being a part of our team.