4 Tips For Surviving the Driving Seasons
Most professional truck drivers are aware of the four very different seasons in trucking, from the slower demands in January to the sudden madness of the produce and peak seasons, until the gradual slowdown near the holidays.
But too often, we overlook some of the most important details that can help us stay safe and productive in any region, any time of the year. That’s why we work with every one of our professional truck drivers to keep these four tips in mind at all times.
Planning ahead is the best way to be productive — and profitable. And it’s the best way to ensure you’re actually driving for most of your 11-hour window, instead of sitting on the side of the road, in a parking lot or even in detention. If you’re only driving for six or seven hours, you’re leaving a lot on the table. Don’t waste your time.
Modern technology is great for finding out information about where you’re headed. There’s a ton of information available online, including road conditions, shipper and receiver reviews and professional trucker message boards that can help you get the most out of your driving hours.
Find out what to expect on the road to your next drop — and what to expect once you’re there. If you know a company is slow to unload freight, plan for it. If you know traffic is going to be slow in spots, plan for it. You can plan for anything. Well… almost.
Many things remain out of your control. Nobody plans for a blowout. And while our weather forecasting is the best in history, a snowstorm can still get worse without warning. The most successful professional truck drivers focus on preparation.
Start your day by checking your equipment. Look for wear and tear. Try to find potential issues before they become a problem on the road. It’ll be time well spent. Facing colder weather? Bring extra blankets. De-ice the airlines. Grab another pouch of beef jerky to tide you over — just in case.
3. Be Aware
You can’t really control anything, other than yourself. And that’s why the best professional truck drivers are always aware of their surroundings. We’ve all been in situations when cars are buzzing near or even under us, bad weather hits and traffic slows to a crawl. It’s important that you notice and react to these things quickly. You have the most to lose with about 70 feet and 40,000 pounds of metal directly behind you.
Being aware of your surroundings is only one part of the story. Be aware of how you feel, too. Are you tired? Angry? Stressed? It only takes one second of you zoning out to create a world of problems for you and everybody else on the road.
Nobody likes surprises. Take advantage of the Qualcomm system in the rig to communicate regularly. It provides a clear record for you, the company you’re driving for, and the customer. In moments, you can communicate to your dispatcher and the customer that you’re running late, or early, or whatever else is happening on the road. Those few seconds will save you a lot of hassle later — and potentially, even money.
Customers are usually easier to work with if they know what to expect. They need to prepare a good plan, just like you do. Give them time to make adjustments. Communicate with your dispatcher to help along the way. You’re on the same team with the same goals. The only way it works is if you work together.
Put these four tips into practice the next time you’re on a run. And the next. They’re easy tips to follow in any season, busy or slow, hot or cold. And they can make a huge difference in keeping you safe while maximizing your money-making hours. Good luck.
WANT TO DRIVE FOR AMX?
You’re in the driver’s seat of where you work — and who you work for. Now is a great time to advance your career as a truck driver. Choose a company that can consistently offer quality work for quality pay — both today and tomorrow.