WHY SHOULD DRIVERS TRIP PLAN?
Although trip planning takes more time initially, in the long run, it will make you a safer and more efficient Driver.
So, next time you’re thinking about starting your day without taking the time to trip plan, remind yourself of all the headaches you could save yourself if you take 10 minutes to do it.
TRIP PLAN EVERY DAY
Make trip planning an integral part of your pre-trip inspection. Eat breakfast, get ready and then do your pre-trip and trip planning. Whether you are hauling a load that you will be delivering later that day or starting a three-day trip, trip plan.
TRIP PLANNING FORMULA
To find out how many hours of driving time it will take to get to your destination you will need to determine how many miles to your destination. To allow for breaks and unexpected delays use an average speed of 50 miles per hour when trip planning.
*Note: This formula needs to be adjusted when driving in the Rocky Mountains. Use an average speed of 45 miles per hour when trip planning in the Rockies to allow additional time for reduced speeds due to steep grades.
Here is an example of planning a trip using an average speed of 50 mph.…
1350 miles to the Customer.
1350 divided by 50 mph = 27 hours of driving time
**Remember in the US you are allowed to drive 11 hours in a 14 hour window. You are then required to take 10 hours off to reset the 14 hour window. That means it will take you 2 full days of driving plus another 5 hours of driving on day 3 to get to your destination.
THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU WILL BE TRAVELLING TO AND THROUGH
If you know you will be driving through a big city, trip plan so you can drive through the city during an off-peak time of day to avoid rush hour traffic (only when it will not impact the scheduled delivery time with a customer).
If you are traveling to the U.S. East Coast, spend extra time thinking about parking and have back-up plans in case parking spots are full.
USE MULTIPLE RESOURCES FOR DIRECTIONS
Google Maps and Apple Maps: Use these applications using their satellite view to look at the locations you will be picking up loads and where you will be dropping loads.
Motor Carriers Road Atlas: Used to get a clear picture of where you will be driving and to get a broader view of how you are going to get there.
A reliable Truck GPS will be helpful when you get close to your destination.
Access Directions on File from the satellite to get Customer specific directions (or use Herd2Go app).
WRITE DOWN THE DIRECTIONS
Try writing down each step of the route on a post-it sticky note, stack them on top of each other and pull them off as you complete each step.
LOOK FOR OBSTACLES ALONG THE ROUTE THAT COULD CREATE DELAYS
This could include border crossings, road closures, construction, tolls and cities you will be driving through.
PLAN WHERE YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE BREAKS
For 10 hour breaks… Have a primary location and a secondary location planned before you leave in case there is no room to park at the first location.
For 30 minute breaks… Before you leave for the day, have an idea in mind of where you plan to stop, but prepare to be flexible and adjust depending on your location and situation.
CHECK THE FORECAST
Use an app on your phone to see what the weather is like where you are and where you are going. Dial 511 or check the state’s DOT website to find out how the weather is affecting road conditions.
Update your ETA throughout the day
If you know you are ahead of or behind schedule, it is important to communicate with your Fleet regarding any time adjustments that need to be communicated to the customer.
If you are ahead of your original schedule, it is also important to update your ETA and PTA. Keeping your PTA updated could mean getting another load that day, resulting in more miles and more money for you!
Updating your ETA if you are behind schedule lets the customer and your Fleet plan for your delay.
TRIP PLANNING WEBSITES AND APPS
- Trucker Path app
- Herd2Go app
- Weather app
- 511 app