Well over 3 million Americans make their livings driving trucks. While promises of self-driving big rigs and the building up of local warehouses have threatened those 3 million+ people’s stability, today, there’s no shortage of demand for drivers.
If you want to make good money as a driver, whether you’re driving for yourself or someone else, you’ll need to learn a thing or two about how to improve in time management. After all, as is the case in any profession, time is money when it comes to operating a rig.
If you’re finding it hard-hitting your mileage goals, we recommend you keep reading this post. In it, our team discusses a handful of truck driver tips that’ll help you meet tight deadlines and operate more successfully in the trucking company you work with.
1. Know Your Route
When you’re tackling a route for the first time, there can be a lot of variables you run into, such as traffic, road closures, single-lane highways, etc.
All of those variables can set your run back more than anticipated.
To take the guesswork out of a route, we always tell drivers that they should take the time to study it. Part of the studying process will come from getting a particular run off of a freight factoring load board (or wherever else) a few times and learning it via experience. To lessen your learning curve, hop on Google maps and step through your route to try and get out ahead of any slowdowns/adversity.
2. Plan for Delays
No matter how well you know a route, things can still go wrong. Given that unpredictability, if you’re managing tight deadlines, plan for delays and give yourself extra time.
Hitting the road 30 minutes or so earlier can help you avoid delivering drops late, and this will keep your employers and/or your customers happy. It also can keep from putting you in a position where you feel you need to rush, which can be particularly dangerous when operating a big rig.
3. Be Strategic About Fueling Up
Stopping to get fuel is a time suck. Learning how to fuel up strategically is, therefore, a low-hanging means of learning how to improve in time management behind the wheel.
If possible, fuel up early in the morning at the beginning of a run to avoid having to get your truck into a pump when things are busy. You might also want to fuel up late in the evening before a run so you can hit the ground running in the AM.
Some trucking companies invest in fuel delivery services that go to where your trucks are parked and fuel them up when they’re not moving so you don’t have to worry about fuel at all! Whatever your solution is, get smart about putting in gas and watch as time rushes back into your workday.
4. Know Where You’ll Park
Parking a car during a busy time of the day is hard. Parking a big rig? Nearly impossible.
Whether it’s to stop for lunch or it’s to park your truck before you’re allowed into a lot to drop your load, you must have a couple of spots pre-screened so you’re not left wondering where you’re going to stop your vehicle.
Driving around extra time to find parking not only wastes time but burns fuel. By knowing the areas you’ll be in ahead of your arrival, you can trim that fat and get situated faster.
5. Pack a Lunch
This is a bit of a controversial time management tip just because a lot of truckers relish being able to hop out of their vehicle to grab food while on the road. Here’s the thing, though: If you’re pressed for time and hungry, having something to eat in a cooler by your seat can help you quickly earn back an extra 30 minutes to an hour without having to starve yourself.
If you find yourself on the road and ahead of schedule, fine, pullover. But having an emergency lunch nearby in case you’re pressed is always a good idea.
6. Know Where the Scales Are
Anyone that has ever been behind the wheel of a truck has likely had run-ins with scales. Scales are usually situated around inclines and check truck’s weight to ensure they comply with local rules.
Scale lines can become tremendously long.
If the route you’re taking has a scale on it, plan for that extra time it may take to get through the scale, even if the scale is generally closed. The last thing you want to do is not budget for a scale stop and then fall behind schedule by an hour or more.
7. Take Opportunities to Rest
The one time management tip that we don’t recommend is driving for longer than is legally allowed. Not only can you get busted for this if your logbook gets reviewed but you could kill yourself or others.
With that in mind, find strategic times to pull over your truck and get sleep. Even if sleeping is going to force your load to run late, believe us when we say that no deadline is worth your life.
You Now Know How to Improve in Time Management When Trucking
Knowing how to improve in time management when trucking can help propel your career and earnings forward, fast. We hope the tips we’ve given you to that end help you get more out of your time behind the wheel.
If you find yourself hungry for more on the road tips, we welcome you to explore additional trucking content on our blog.